Friday, 29 July 2016

Dormouse Madagascar 75.6%

Dormouse, small-batch chocolate makers, had won bronze in this year's Academy of Chocolate. This award had been won for their 75.6% Madagascan dark chocolate. The recipe is Madagascan cacao beans, muscovado sugar and cocoa butter
The aroma accentuated different starting notes upon each tasting. Firstly sour, the next was smokey, the next metallic. Overall I would describe it to be sour fruited. Forest and summer fruits, particularly raspberry, macerated in balsamic and apple cider vinegar. There was raisin, treacle and cedar wood too

The taste was roasted, vinegar (high acetic acid, lingers from a crucial process in the fermentation of cacao!), baker's bread. One tasting where the aroma had piquant metallic, it reminded me of a Peruvian small batch I once had, (of RealHonestChocolate...), and I must stress the "piquant", as I enjoyed the chocolate very much by now. The finish was strawberries and general red and black berries with balsamic vinegar, and bamboo leaves

The texture hadn't been as smooth as the 60% dark-milk I recently had of Dormouse's, but then again the refine and conch time was significantly less at 25 hours compared to the 60 hours for the dark-milk

I love the thinness of Dormouse bars. This award-winning Madagascan chocolate was packed of flavour, that brightness and tartness of Madagascan cacao. A chocolate that would have provoked interesting discussion amongst the judges at the Academy of Chocolate

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Pump Street Bakery Jamaica 75%

Jamaica, my first taste of it in terms of chocolate. The Jamaican cacao had been grown on Bachelor's Hall Estate, a 2015 harvest. Along with the cacao is cane sugar and cocoa butter

It's a chocolate on the darker colour spectrum of 'chocolate'
An aroma raisin, malt loaf (raisin laden), fresh milled wholemeal flour dusted on tabletop, cranberry. The taste, on the money Jamaica! Rum. It started with dried currants and cranberries, raisins, flowing in came the rum - some sugar cane bitterness and overall golden flavour... The underlining base note was garibaldi biscuits. The finish lingered golden rum

Oh, that was so real

Monday, 18 July 2016

Mast Brothers Coffee

60% cacao, cane sugar, cocoa butter, buttermilk, coffee beans. The Mast Brothers' website tells me the cacao origin - Tanzania - when the packaging fails to. There is no mention of the coffee, in terms of what coffee it is. Although I don't think it would be Stumptown's coffee, because that would surely get a mention

I picked up this small 28g bar at Mast Brothers in Shoreditch, London. It had actually been made in the Mast Brooklyn factory, "surprise!" What would the locavores do?

The standard 70g Coffee bar would have been made in London, but not the 28g miniatures; the same applies to all within the Mast range
Really great chocolate. Fine flavour cacao with coffee will always get me. The texture was really smooth, the flavour was open, deep. Just really sound chocolate

I would love to do a side by side comparison of this coffee chocolate. Few pieces Shoreditch-made, few Brooklyn-made and LA too

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Dormouse 60% Brasil with Smoked Sea Salt Milk Chocolate

"60% Brazilian milk chocolate with smoked sea salt" said the Dormouse girls. 
I was elated. 

The dark-milk chocolate was crafted from Brazilian cocoa beans from Fazenda Sempre Firme, muscovado sugar, whole milk, and cocoa butter. Muscovado sugar is a Dormouse trait, as well as their distinctive bar moulds! The cacao is from Akesson's plantation in Brazil
The packaging, from presentation to unwrapping it, gave a feel of artisan and craftsman. It was nice, and felt very close to home

The aroma was pickled and herby (notes of dill), with luscious cream, toffee, dark caramel and cherry

The taste was the salt, creaminess, cocoa, muscovado caramel, wheat, cherry. It was so smooth in texture, with a nicely paced melt. The near finish was tannins of black tea leaves, and black tea itself. The salt was just brilliant 

The Dormouse girls demonstrate the excellence of women in chocolate. This 60% dark milk was very emotive, and I was in awe. It made me look through poetry, writings, pieces of music, just to find something fitting. I like when chocolate does that

Love Cocoa

Love Cocoa was the brainchild of the great-great-great grandson of Cadbury, otherwise known as James Cadbury. The idea behind Love Cocoa is being a letterbox-friendly, next-day-delivery, ideal gift to give. The bar packagings are pretty, with the prints designed to match the flavour. It has a Mast Brothers-esq feel to it, which seems very popular lately

The chocolate is made from couverture, so, as Love Cocoa is not bean-to-bar, I could tell the chocolate was more about the added flavours. The couverture is sourced from a family run business who work closely with cocoa farmers, so let's just say Love Cocoa are not using the chocolate most chocolatiers are using 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Akesson's 43% White Madagascar

I remember this bar making an appearance on the chocolate scene last winter. This is Bertil Akesson's first white chocolate; it is made from cocoa butter that had been pressed from organic cacao grown on his Bejofo plantation in Madagascar 

There are a number of reasons as to why this white chocolate is different to 'standard' white chocolate, for example, the simplicity of ingredients. Just organic cocoa butter, organic milk and organic sugar, in that order. The cocoa butter is non-deodorised too, which means you are getting the authentic flavour of the butter of the Bejofo cocoa bean! This is unlike nearly all white chocolate, of which are made with deodorised cocoa butter (i.e odourless). Lastly, there is no vanilla, so again you will get the true Bejofo cocoa butter experience 

That list was not exhaustive, I could go on, but I won't

The taste was great, I loved it, a lot. A little smokey, very creamy, somewhat cheesed, sweet. The aroma and taste matched

Overall, this Akesson's bar was not just a sophisticated white chocolate, but a sophisticated chocolate full stop

A good comparison would be Willie's Cacao El Blanco white chocolate. It has a slightly lower cacao % (36%), of which is Venezuelan (not Madagascan), but similarly it is non-deodorised! The sugar of Willie's Cacao is raw cane, which could add a darker sweetness. Also, it's priced at around £1.80, where Akesson's is £5.95