Monday, 30 May 2016

Zotter Labooko Ecuador 75% Arriba - Los Rios

Yes, another Zotter. What we have this time is a dark chocolate, with the cacao within having grown in the Los Rios region of Ecuador. Often you may see "Arriba" written on Ecuadorian chocolate bars, however strictly speaking "Arriba" refers to cacao which is grown in the upriver areas of the Guayas River. It's a word often used correctly! Like this time. But other times it's used more as a marketing tactic
An aroma so wheaty, with cocoa and a touch of fruit (thoughts of jam). The taste was strawberry jam, guava, chocolate-cherry-jam
Zotter's Labooko chocolate is always smooth, and this bar was no exception. I feel as if I have no more to say about this chocolate, so I shall leave it at that

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Georgia Ramon milk chocolate Kaffee & Kakao Nibs 55%

A high cocoa milk chocolate with Ethiopian coffee (roasted by Caffé a Casa in Vienna) and cocoa nibs

The back packaging, of all Georgia Ramon bars, gives the grind and conch time in hours. This coffee milk chocolate had been grinding for 24 hours and conched for 4. The all organic ingredients were: cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, whole milk, raw cane sugar, "Bench Maji" coffee beans. The cacao origin was the Dominican Republic

It was beautiful. A rich chocolate coffee. I almost want to say 'mocha', but I feel that down plays it. I absolutely loved it. Maybe my favourite pairing, coffee and chocolate that is

The nibs added crunch to the smooth chocolate. The snap was crisp and clean, the finish was clean. The bar mould of Georgia Ramon chocolate is excellent; sometimes I have big pieces, sometimes small - very fun. Overall, just a really impressive chocolate. More please ... 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Georgia Ramon Ghana 70%

A 70% organic Ghananian dark chocolate. A medium roast, ground for 36 hours, conched for 3; I love this detail given on the back of Georgia Ramon's bars. The back also suggested "herb, mild, nutty, with floral peaty finish. With notes of humus and vanilla." 

Georg Bernadini has said that at the moment he hasn't a supplier of organic cacao from Ghana, so production of this chocolate has stopped, for the time-being (he hopes)
An aroma woody, subtly spiced, a dark oak table. This was matched with the taste, but the taste also had cocoa bitterness (but not soooo bitter), gherkin, hummus, "small dishes" - I think I was referring to almost mezze-like dining (Turkish/Persian/Greek, etc.) 
I felt as if I needed a lot of the chocolate in one 'tasting' (by this I mean more chocolate in my mouth) for it to get good. As then it had pronounced floral tones and a subtle but refreshing acidity

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Zotter Labooko Nicaragua 60% milk

So, Zotter's 50% Nicarguan milk chocolate is supposedly the best milk chocolate out there, according to Georg Bernadini. The 50% is something I do not have, but here is the 60% Nicarguan milk chocolate instead! A little richer in cocoa ...

The cacao within is from Don Francisco in Nicargua, there was whole milk, cocoa butter, raw cane sugar, vanilla and salt 
An aroma quite creamy, with cocoa butter, vanilla, white chocolate

The taste was creamy, with bitterness (or more a lack of sweetness), prettiness, Belgian truffles/pralines, chocolate sauce, ice cream, chocolate pudding, vanilla

The finish was bitter, hay, barn and cocoa 
The chocolate had a smooth back, nice sheen, a smooth, buttery melt. It tasted like a blend of milk and dark chocolate. It wasn't wow, but it was not bad

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Goodio Harmony 53%

Goodio are a new bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Finland. All their organic, raw chocolate is made with cocoa beans, coconut palm sugar and cocoa butter, and often desiccated coconut is used, which seems quite random. Goodio is not about cacao origin, but adding flavour to chocolate; this is a route less travelled by bean-to-bar makers. On their website they give some detail on their cacao sourcing, but it reads a little airy 

I was gifted this Harmony bar, as ... hello 🙃 (that is my name). They have bars named Citrus, Coffee, Chai, Blueberry, Cool Mint etc. but what is Harmony flavour exactly?
The flavour was the coconut rolls you get in a bag of liquorice allsorts. I love liquorice, and so this was a really great-tasting chocolate. Harmony flavour includes liquorice root, anise, lemon extract and desiccated coconut, all organic. There was a slight bitterness, far from unpleasant, that finished every piece, I felt that was from the lemon
Goodio is health conscious chocolate with a sweet-tooth and a love for flavour. I like how it is made from the bean, opposed to just cacao powder and butter, of which it often is with the more health-orientated chocolate bars. Goodio had been goodio and I look forward to hearing about their other bars (a friend is trying them)

Cacaosuyo Piura Milk

Cacaosuyo's Piura Select 70% is my all time favourite chocolate. And here is the Piura Milk, it was the overall winning milk chocolate of 2015 in the International Chocolate Awards

The aroma was instantly butter. This surprised me, I was expecting a darker flavour profile. The taste was metallic, then very banana, coconut sugar, molasses, banoffee, lime zest. The flavour and the flavour development was better when the chocolate was chewed
When I first tried this chocolate, an opera was playing in the background. Baring in mind I do not enjoy opera, it really disrupted my experience. No way could this do such a well-respected chocolate any justice, I thought. And so, with some trial and error, I was then searching for pieces of classical music that I could pair with the chocolate, and to essentially augment my experience too

Listening, tasting, pause ... repeat

Bartók's An Evening in the Village from his Hungarian Pictures (click here to listen) had satisfied me. The piece of music was very relaxed, it walked me through a Peruvian village. The melody was smooth, soft and at times playful, which reflected the chocolate itself, whilst also allowing the chocolate to sing its own notes

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Cacaosuyo Lakuna 70%

Cacaosuyo are award-winning Peruvian chocolate makers using Peruvian cacao. They have a few different bars in their range, each being made with Lakuna or Piura cacao

Cacaosuyo use solely cocoa mass and sugar, no added cocoa butter (apart from their milk bars). This 70% Lakuna chocolate won 2 silver awards in the International Chocolate Awards 2014. However, when it comes to chocolate like this, flavour reflects each cacao harvest, so what it tasted like in 2014 doesn't necessarily mean it will have the same flavour profile two years later (similar, but not the same)
An aroma of vanilla, leather, green and metallic notes. The taste started tannic, developing into liquorice, clove, vanilla, pepper, root beer, cola and Dr Pepper®

The Lakuna was much like the Piura Select (which is my absolute favourite), but it wasn't as "rough minded". I felt as if the Lakuna beans had more fat than the Piura, and overall it was a lot softer than the Piura

Cacaosuyo, you are incredible