It must have been a subliminal thing. I just put some Reggae on and then I reach for this Patrick Roger Antilles dark chocolate bar. Although it’s a sad day as this is the last of the bars I imported a few months ago. But, I must say it’s been a wonderful expierence. Each bar may have had the same simply-sophisticated packaging but they’ve all offered something unique flavour-wise – they’ve all been damn fine though!
This one comes the area the French call Antilles and we call the Caribbean. Obviously that’s a huge place with massively varying flavour options ranging from the Triniatrio bean which originated in Trinidad to the Criollo which, although, began its life in Central America and is well known for producing some great Porcelana and Chauo chocolate in Venezuela, can still be found across the Caribbean. My goal is to try and work out if there’s any Island that dominates in the supply of cocoa for this bar. I’ll be difficult.
The aroma has a slight Pralus-sytle acidity but very mild with it. There are plums and a hint of tobacco. I’m so often presented with fine chocolate from Jamaica that has very acidic aromas that I don’t think this bar is from there. Although the sharpness could have been muted by a longer conching process, I don’t think that Jamaican cocoa takes a front stage with this bar.
There is, however, a great softness and caramel tone that reminds me the Chapon Cuba that I tasted earlier in the year. I’ve got some Pralus Cuba from The Chocolate Trading Co to try as well so I’ll compare that this week. At the outer edges of the flavours there’s an intoxicating tone. It attends the back of the throat with Whisky-type hit, but offers a red-fruitiness that wraps you in a velvety blanket which is perfect for the dark winter nights approaching.
It’s the texture that I find delightful too. It’s incredibly smooth. I’d say that he’s really got the conching process down here, he could have even conched this for a full week, I wouldn’t be surprised. If you ever try this bar I implore you to have chew it and then just let it settle in your mouth to let the flavours and aromas come out. You’ll be amazed at the roundness of the experience.
On a second pass at this chocolate I got a spiciness that was a carbon copy, only more diluted, of the flavour I got from the Hawaiian Criollo bar, that note isn’t prominent or long lasting, but it did add to the experience. This bar is damn good. It may be a touch too mild to go into the very top tier of bars with the Cuba Chapon and the Amano Ocumare, but it’s certainly one I’d seek out again.
So what was the origin of the beans? Now you’re pushing me. I’m going to guess at Trinitario from Dominican Republic. I’d hate to be wrong, but with such a mild bar it’s like choosing the 4:30 at Kempton next year.