A quick disclosure: I don’t know when the BBE is for this bar, but I’ve had it my collection for a while (batch number 12211011). What I do know, however, is that Belize is one of my favourite cocoa growing countries – perhaps more so that I find the country intriguing and there are some local producers creating some very fine chocolate.
For the sake of completeness, The Maho River can be found in the south east corner of Belize and is home, logically, of the Moho River Company – which appears to have wonderful ethics and is the source of the cocoa for Mast’s chocolate – as well as for Taza and five other makers. Currently they produce just 20 metric tonnes of cacao production from 48 farmers.
It’s rare for chocolate to be so dominated by one flavour, but that is certainly the case here. The Moho River is definitively sarsaparilla. At first it will catch you off guard. But as you continue with the chocolate the intrusiveness of this flavour subsides and a relatively intense cherry flavour becomes apparent. Whether you see this lack of depth as a strength or weakness is a matter of personal appearance. Personally I’d like more complexity and intrigue to chocolate, however, there’s nothing intrinsically problematic, and it just doesn’t jump out at me as an excellent bar, even though the back-story certainly is commendable.
It’s a shame though. The aroma created a great sense of anticipation that just wasn’t met when it came to the flavour. That’s the trouble with chocolate: there are so many variables, so many characteristics of the bean, the fermenting, roasting, conching and ageing that goes into the production process. But it does offer us variety that all fine chocolate-lovers crave.