Friday 23 December 2016

Hummingbird Hispaniola 70%

Hummingbird, who craft chocolate in Almonte, Ontario, Canada; won the Golden Bean award in this year's Academy of Chocolate awards, for their Hispaniola 70%. And so it was kinda the word that this Hispaniola was the BEST bar of 2016. The "best" bar of 2016 is recognised as something else from another chocolate awards, but it's alllllll relative

The aroma acidic, vinegar, cherry wine. The taste is chocolate, red wine, cherries, toasted almond. This chocolate melts smoothly and quickly, which enhances the experience. Cherry jam on toast, so very cherry
The first time I had tried I was underwhelmed, but now it has qualities I really admire. It is balanced, due to a great conche I feel. It's certainly nice, not a standout of 2016 for me, but nice! It took time to get my hands on this bar, everywhere sold out - eventually managed to bypass a waiting list of 100+ people in Toronto

I found the packaging to be unfortunate, inside and out; there was too much going on with many different fonts and images. This, along with the peripheral information is the forgoing of great design. It gives off a European vibe, not in this decade 

Monday 12 December 2016

Tadzio Vietnam, Venezuela, Brazil, Philippines

Tadzio, a one-bean; two-ingredient chocolate-making operation, taking inspiration from Japanese minimalism in his presentation, has a growing collection of cocoa beans. When life hands you cocoa beans, you make chocolate, when life hands you chocolate, you relish and write ...

Bén Tre, Vietnam 71%
From 2 batches, the second bettered the first. It was smoky, spiced, Bourbon, pecan nut, honey, maple, later came an occasional sharp acidity, but prior to that, it was fantastic with its flavours

Puerto Cabello, Venezuela 71%
A taste of cocoa husk, real-rustic chocolate, spice and marjoram, green notes and rocks. It had a smooth melt. The aroma hadn't been as inviting, but nothing from the aroma gets picked up in flavour. This one is rather chocolate-y! 
Bahia, Brazil
Rainbow Dust yields to roasted coffee. It melts so cleanly, quickly gone. I go back to this one a week later, it's still that lime and Rainbow Dust sherbet, but now it's followed with hazelnut, then raisin, meanders to Cadbury's Brazilian Darkness. Great flavours, and just really quite interesting. I am very familiar with these Brazilian cocoa beans, but not with this flavour profile. This chocolate had the smoothest, coolest and softest melt of Tadzio's collection

South Cotabato, Philippines 73%
Sweet and warming on the nose. Straight away it's toasty, a high roast - these Philippine beans are very small, so "easy to do" says Tadzio in revealing a possible over-roast. With the roasted profile is rich, dark chocolate. And then slowly develops a curry-like aura with fragrant spices. A really lovely chocolate

Sunday 11 December 2016

Soma Old School

Soma's Old School chocolate range is basically "chocolate as it was back in the day: simple and pure". Cocoa nibs and organic sugar (and milk powder if it's the milk bar) get ground in Soma's vintage melangeur and pressed together. Usually chocolate is further refined, conched and tempered, but not these Old School bars. These bars are designed to have a crumbled, biscuit texture

I cannot remember the DARK Old School cacao origin, but as it tasted of raspberry jam and vanilla, I'm thinking it could be their Madagascar 66%, maybe, just maybe. The bar's texture was like a biscuit (cookie), and you get them sugar crunches

The MILK bar ... just freakin' delicious. It's only 38% cacao, that being Chuao cacao from Venezuela - known as pretty rare cacao - and the rest milk powder and organic sugar crystals. It was sweet, with a taste pretty chocolatey and brownie-like. The texture was again fun

A great creation from Soma!

Thursday 8 December 2016

Risa 70% Bicolandia, 70% & 60% South Cotabato

Risa is a bean to bar chocolate maker in the Philippines. I discovered them at this years Chocolate Show in London, without even a smidge of recognition; it's always exciting to find new makers

The cacao in their chocolate comes from the Philippines, from two regions: Bicolandia and South Cotabato. The ingredients include cacao, sugar, cocoa butter. They also have a "coco" sugar bar which is made with the South Cotabato cacao and coconut sugar! 
The Bicolandia 70% had dill, dairy creaminess, yet a dryness, and sand in the aroma. The taste was coconut, cocoa nib, metallic. A pretty raw, earthy profile overall

Next up, the South Cotabato 70% was demerara sugar and fig on the nose. The taste was caramel, winter spice, brown rice. So rich, especially in comparison to the Bicolandia!
The 60% South Cotabato with Coco Sugar had an aroma of creamy coconut, butterscotch Angel Delight (the bittersweetness of coconut sugar), and buttermilk. The taste was coconut straight away, with then chocolate, coconut milk pudding, butterscotch, oatcakes and sooo digestive biscuits!