Wednesday 29 July 2015

Pump Street Bakery Grenada 70%

This Grenadian chocolate gets its 'exclusivity' from Pump Street being the sole producer of single estate chocolate from Crayfish Bay estate's cocoa beans

The pouring of the tempered chocolate gets some attention with this particular bar of batch no. 5105, as the back had a border, i.e. it was not flat. The colour, the feel and overall look was very nice, the sheen was like "polished mahogany". I like the seal-bag packaging, as it saves the chocolate's volatile aromas and flavours
The aroma was floral tea leaves, chocolate, smokiness, bamboo (grassy) and blackberry

The taste is one that impresses. In the mix was tea leaves, lots of sweetness, butter, blackberry, nut/wood and acidity. A wave of chocolate then rides the palate, succumbing to wheat. The texture was smooth and buttery

This chocolate has recently won few awards, including gold in the 2015 International Chocolate Awards for 'micro batch'. And overall, an impressive bar - £6.95 seems respectable 

Friday 24 July 2015

Pacari Raw 85%

Raw and 85%, although "antioxidant rich", I wasn't looking forward to this Pacari. I bought this bar in a small natural food store in my home town, I was so amazed to find Pacari in there, just when I was about to leave! (I also bought Pacari's wonderful Piura 70% again and their blueberry bar to try)

It was a very dark brown, looking nearly black. The aroma had a seemingly 'Pacari' feel. There was earthiness, leather, tobacco, whisky/metallic (something that suggests rawness), vanilla and citrus

The taste was bitter then came flowers with a tinge of citrus. There was something "meaty" nearing the finish, which I think is something of raw chocolate (like I found in Cocoa Raw). The texture was smooth, with the help of added cocoa butter and sunflower lecithin. I like the mould of Pacari, giving chunky bites

85% is too high for me, so I wouldn't buy this bar again, however I liked the buzz the caffeine and other stimulants gave me

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Zotter Labooko Peru Barranquita 75%

This chocolate had a 20 hour conch. The beans were from Barranquita village, which is on the banks of the Rio Huallaga, in Peru. They were said to be fruity and floral and 100% Trinitario

An aroma of bubblegum, blueberry and raspberry. I thought of the Hubba Bubba® tape. It was very flowery, though nothing specific to myself. There was a numb (zest-less) citrus orange and cherry brandy too. Overall, very comical
A scuffed surface
The taste started cocoa, it was very slow and buttery, then came the blueberry/raspberry and flowers, then back to cocoa and cocoa butter. It was a short lived flavour, as in the fruity/floral notes. It was a shame to receive so much of a 'cocoa' flavour
Overall, a slight dissatisfying Labooko bar, especially when I had such high expectations. It had too much cocoa butter for my liking, making it very fatty, disrupting the flavour and creating a very buttery texture

Friday 17 July 2015

Fruition 70% Peru

I've had Fruition before, the Rustic Crunch, that was impressive. Fruition are bean-to-bar makers in the Catskills Mountains, NY who have revolved their chocolate around Peruvian beans from small organic co-operatives. They specifically have made a Marañón bar, which is still Peruvian but more traceable to the consumer. However, they have also made bars with Hispaniola and Camino Verde (Ecuador) beans!
This bar was £8.95 from Cocoa Runners so, for a non-US resident, this bar is expensive!

The aroma was chocolate, toasted, leather and vanilla. The snap: good, the texture: smooth

The taste was cocoa, with the roast evident, then came a distinct lemon which is very buzzy. This acidity also suggested apple cider vinegar (to my surprise, I see that I found an apple taste in the Rustic Crunch too). Beneath this acidity, the dark chocolate flavour and greenery balances with the lemon, so it's not overly sour. There was cinnamon spice, and mint: of which almost seemed to cleanse the palate! 

Having this chocolate, you almost feel as if it has lemon oil in it

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Bonbons

This was the one place I had to visit when in Budapest. And really "it was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight." I felt jittery when I finally found the shop. There was a CHUAO cocoa bag in the window and inside it smelt wonderful. The smell wasn't of what is associated with chocolate. I cannot even describe it, but, it was real chocolate. Oh my ... fine cocoa!

I chose 6 bonbons and they were put into a paper cone. I then walked 2 miles, in the hot sun, back to the apartment, praying that they wouldn't melt in my backpack! - A few days later I went back and bought 3 of them again (as I wasn't confident in my first tasting notes on them) and then the Lemon Oil Caramel too

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Szántó Tibor Santo Domingo

Szántó Tibor is a Hungarian bean-to-bar maker. I enjoyed reading Tibor's story on how he got into the chocolate making craft. For this bar, the cocoa beans are from the San Cristobal region of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and mixed with unrefined cane sugar and cocoa butter

I bought this bar in Endorfine (a chocolate shop in Budapest that I highly recommend - lots of quality bars, i.e. Amedei, Menakao, Marou etc!). Prior to buying, the young lady allowed me to try Szántó Tibor. Starting with the Bén Tre (Vietnam), I then asked about the Dominican one, they had similarities, but the flavour the Dominican evoked meant I just had to chose it over the Vietnamese
The nose was chocolate, tropical fruits and metallic

The taste was LEGIT chocolate covered plums (prunes), Wawel Sliwka W Czekoladzie, a Polish delicacy that I loved when I was little. There was mango, smoked hints, cherry and it was very sweet (because of the larger sugar particles?)

The texture was 'rough' with sugar, but there were also the tiny cocoa bean husks being left behind on the tongue. Some (I know one guy for sure) would disapprove of this coarse ground. Admittedly I didn't love it, but I think the nostalgic flavour dominated the texture. Plus, the sugared feel added to the effect of it being dried fruit coated in chocolate ... 

Overall, this was a different chocolate experience. It seemed less sacrosanct, but tasted divine. The way to eat was to chew

Monday 6 July 2015

Zotter Pistachios

I found this bar on special in a chocolate shop in Budapest, I couldn't resist. Mountain Milk Chocolate with marzipan and pistachios. The Iranian pistachios were "first processed into marzipan and mixed with aniseed tea, then garnished into the almond-nougat base layer" - I bought unaware of it having marzipan

Overall it was an enjoyable chocolate bar, I am partial to the chunkiness of Zotter's handscooped bars

However, it was the almond marzipan that dominated. The pistachio and unsurprisingly the aniseed, lemon, rose and cinnamon flavours were lost

I liked that it was creamy tasting and as was the 50% cocoa Mountain milk chocolate coating. I enjoy marzipan so I wasn't too disappointed with the lack of pistachio, but I couldn't help but wish that the pistachios were roasted and salted - especially after Hotel Chocolat's Salted Pistachio 

Sunday 5 July 2015

Zangio Artisan Chocolates

Zangio is a family chocolaterie, of which I had planned on visiting when in Budapest. It's a small shop, within the Jewish quarter, with "workshop choc" catching the eye more than the name. They have won Academy of Chocolate awards! It was a shame I had only chosen 4 chocolates - I spent a while choosing, so it felt like I had more ...

I had to stop at a bar to eat them as they were surely melting. That was a regretful decision as the table was out in the sun and so I had to eat them fairly quickly. Though I did still take note of each's flavour, I wish I could have felt more comfortable, so all dedication was on the chocolate I was tasting