A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of sharing some time with Pierre Marcolini and bagging some tablettes and other goodies such as his selection box as well as a gorgeous box of Palets Fins and Saveurs du Monde, but now we’re onto a completely different affair: what I initially thought was a very robust, powerful single estate dark chocolate bar.
This bar is made with Criollo Blanco which could well be the original Criollo cacao specimen and harvested from the Las Pampas ‘plantation’ and when I first tried it last month it was very intense, but having left it over Easter the character has changed dramatically.
Before there was a strong Marmite character but now it its completely changed. Now there are delicate honey and walnut notes and perhaps some edge of dusty bookshops. But most definitely honey followed by Amaretto at the end of the melt. There’s hardly any acidity there at all, maybe a touch before the Amaretto kicks in, but it’s a great deal more subtle than I expected. This leaves me wondering where I can place it in terms of the other chocolate of this ilk, and to be honest I don’t know. I love the uniqueness of the flavours and how at the 85% cacao level it stays clear of the acidity and moves into a natural sweetness that comes from the vanilla and sugar, but part of me wishes it still had the punch the first pass taste.
The aroma, though, is sensational. It’s wondefullyfragrant and joyful. It smells of a beautiful women in summer, a women with a natural glow and confidence with it. I could hold this bar to my nose all day – it’s incredibly intoxicating.
I did, however, find the initial melt a touch dry. I’ve not had any massive variation in temperature in my office so I can’t blame it so much on the environment – although I did have it in hand luggage on my return from Belgium so the dry air in the plain may have not helped. But on the same token it doesn’t come across as highly polished, more natural and less refined. As you add more saliva to the mix then it does hold together well but still doesn’t seem to push the flavours around the mouth as I’d expect. Instead they roll gently around with slight wafts of flavour.
This is a fascinating bar. It’s not pretentious, it doesn’t conform to any stereotype, and it just offers a delightfully unique experience which is radically different from most bars I’ve tried at this cocoa solids level.