Having fallen head over heels in love with the 67% version of this Madagascan bar it’s time to try the 75% version. When I bought it it was approaching its best before date, and now it’s a full seven months past that. So I’m not going to be over-critical as, even though chocolate of this type is often fine a year or so after those dates, it’s still not fair to compare it to a fresh bar. That being said, it still packs a heap load of punch.
Visually it has a dark, mahogany-like appearance with a purposefully pitted exterior. It doesn’t attempt to be a high-gloss bar. It has its own personality, not only visually, but also in its aroma and flavour. I can’t remember a bar of chocolate that has such a sandalwood aroma. It seems to absorb all the moisture between itself and my nose. It produced an atmospheric void that can’t go unnoticed.
Given that the bar comes as a thin slab and is incredibly well made, the snap is as thin, crisp and sharp as you could wish for. I’m going to have to start recording them for posterity.
The flavour undoubtedly ‘citrus’ and partway to the citric acidity of the Lumi bar from Artisan du Chocolat – but significantly less harsh. There is some of that fermentation, ‘funky’ flavour that I actually find appealing coming through. It adds another dimension to that acidic base. Pushing it to the front of my mouth it actually releases more flavour at the back, this time it’s some spice that I just can’t isolate. It’s certainly not sweet, nor bitter, but more rounded than that. I wish I could name it, but it does add some more character to the melt.
The texture too, is fine. At this edge I couldn’t say it’s remarkable, but it’s not off-putting and much better than the ‘average’ bar. Overall, I’d say it compares favourably with other bars from the Sambirano Valley: Menakao 72%, Åkesson’s 75% and Michel Cluizel’s 1er Cru de Plantation “Mangaro”. I only wish I had a fresher version of it.
It’s actually nice to get back to trying chocolate with variable flavours given my recent foray in to the more commercial of chocolate. Thankfully I have his Rio Caribe Superior to review soon, but looking at this bar, I’d give it a quick rating of 79%.