Solstice Chocolate Bolivia 70% Palo Blancos


The world is awash with chocolate which is pretty much in-determinant from countless other chocolates. Even in the fine chocolate market very few bars actually stand out. Flavour profiles can be all of a muchness. I often find myself trotting out the same adjectives, the same ‘notes of’,  ‘hints of and ‘reminds me of”‘. Rarely do I get chocolate that does actually stand out.

The aroma of this Bolivia 70% Palo Blancos from Solstice chocolate is brutish and belies the fact that its only a 70% chocolate. Its dry and earthen. Plenty of other makers have made interesting chocolate from Alot Beni, and seemingly many have from Palos Blancos, including Zokoko, Raaka and Taza, but I proffer the view that this is perhaps the most interesting of them all. Beyond that heaving molasses introduction there lies some subtlety juxtaposed with some intense, unsophisticated but welcome acidity. I’m sure many won’t ‘get it’, for it doesn’t play the usual game.

Texture of the Bolivian Solstice Chocolate

How you choose to enjoy your chocolate will greatly affect the flavour you get from it. Letting it melt very slowly releases a gorgeous caramel, cream, strawberry balance reminiscent perhaps of the Domori Porcelana. Consuming the chocolate in a flash, you’ll miss virtually all of the flavour. The problem with great chocolate is not always with the chocolate, but often the person. Great chocolate is only part processed in the factory. The finishing touches are done in the mouth. You owe it to the bean, the growers, harvesters and the makers to do the chocolate justice and let it sit on your tongue.

Testing the chocolate, and going against my better judgement I pushed it up to the front of my mouth and got a whole load of soft fruit flavour mainly – mango. I just wanted to see how it changed with different approaches to the final processing.

The texture couldn’t be faulted. But given the flavour you’re never going to think of anything else. So it did coat my mouth, my tounge everything during the constant and lengthy melt.

As I’ve been pretty much off sugar for a couple of days too I couldn’t work out if my accelerated heart rate and sense of euphoria was due to the sugar or because it was just really good chocolate. I’m leaning towards the latter.

I know some may have a slight diference in opinion in that there were no truly evolving flavours that flow like the Colorado River, but what it did offer was something more focused and exemplary – the smooth Bermudan cove sea. An artist who uses few colours such as Braque or Picasso can create just as fine work than an artist such as Money or van Gogh who use a full palette of colours. The count of hues isn’t as important as the final picture. So in terms of this piece of art just focus on how the chocolate makes you feel, and forget the mass spectrometry.

If you’re in the US you can get it from Caputo’s Deli.

Lee McCoy

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