The Patanemo area of Venezuela is responsible for some wonderful cocoas. But with the likes of established chocolate makers such as Dandelion and Mast Brothers doing great things with them and other interesting companies such as Hummingbird using the Tisano-sourced Trinitario cocoa, what can a relative new-comer to the chocolate making fraternity achieve the beans of the same origin? Seemingly some very impressive things.
I live and breathe new bean-to-bar chocolate. I spend far too much of my time exploring and cataloguing chocolate makers which decide to take the plunge and make chocolate themselves. The Pump Street Bakery is one of those that I’ve come across recently. They’re only new at the chocolate-making business themselves, having been focused on breads and pastries in the past. Perhaps they were looking for a new income stream, or perhaps they just wanted to try something different, but they’re giving bean-to-bar chocolate making a stint. Now I’ve not seentheir equipment or how they use it, but they do have pretty good write-ups on their core business, but if I wasn’t mad busy, and was located a bit closer we could have had a visit of their bean-to-bar chocolate making room (maybe I’ll be invited some time?). Hopefully some of you will/have had a tour.
Diving straight into the chocolate and past the wonderfully unusual, office-supplies type packaging and onto the ‘finish’, it had a deep, late sunset red hue to the typical dark brown. There were only blemishes where I suspect were accrued during shipping and not present in any great number after the manufacturing process.
The aroma is formed at the confluence of salinity, tobacco, dry alpine forest and Cornish clotted ice cream. It’s very welcoming. The melt is incredibly lengthy. At first you should notice the delivery of honey notes. This moves fairly swiftly into strawberries and cream and that sensation lasts an age. There are no sharp edges, no abundance of acidity. It’s just incredibly smooth, soft, and sensuous. It’s the girl next door.
Some may see it as too inoffensive or lacking in character. But from this area you’re unlikely to get the brutish, red fruits of Madagascar or the florals of Ecuador, or even the robust nature that characterises the Dominican Republic. This is the perfect chocolate to enjoy listening to Moby and reading a good book. Scratch that, it’s best enjoyed in a dark room and nothing but the dark wind whistling outside.
At £5.80 for 75g its not cheap, especially if you haven’t seen it peer-reviewed. But I would suggest you give it a try.