Another first for Chocolate Reviews – a bar of artisan chocolate made in Australia. I’d heard that a company was actually trying to grow cacao in the very tip of Queensland where the conditions are right, but I’ve not seen anything actually be produced. That was a few years ago so I’ve given up hope. The closest thing I can get is chocolate grown elsewhere, but made in the country. Here I have a 68% bar made from cacao grown in the Alto Beni municipality in western Bolivia.
This bar recently won a silver in the 2011 Academy of Chocolate Awards. I don’t recall trying it then, which is highly likely as even though I reviewed fifty-odd bars I didn’t get to try them all. Having seen them listed I decided to get my wallet out and import some all the way from Australia to see what they were like. Michele who co-runs Zokoko with her husband kindly added in a couple of extra bars in. Thankfully they were these award winning bars which I couldn’t buy on their website.
I must admit the packaging is huge at 21.5cm x 8cm, whilst the bar in side was 19cm x 5cm – not that size is important when it comes to chocolate! I know I’ve seen packaging which was fairly similar in the past, but I just couldn’t place. It does give a very luxurious and satisfying impression that is actually followed through inside with a delightful and flavourful bar.
Inside there is some more card with a bit more information on it that is part wrapped around the oblong gold foil which contains seven blocks of a wonderfully dark chocolate, each embossed with the Zokoko logo.
The aroma is certainly intense. It’s has a strong salty, acidic quality with tannin and tobacco edges. It draws you in to break off section after section – each with an echoey snap.
The flavour is different from any other bar I recall. The very edge of my tongue has reacted as if there’s salt in it, I know there isn’t, but it feels tingly. I would have expect a much more acidic experience but it’s strangely mellow. I get sensations of watermelon, mustard powder and raspberries. It’s just incredibly unusual. The texture is fine too. There are some slight granular moments, but we’re talking small-batch, bean to bar chocolate here, not mass-produced stuff.
Life’s not about powerful and punchy chocolate, and if you were craving a mellow bar with fruity edges then gives this a go (if you can find them in the UK).