Info Details
Country Italy   
Type Milk Chocolate   (41%)
Strain Criollo   (Old Red Ceylon?)
Source Sri Lanka   (Mathale; 2007 Harvest)
Flavor Crossover   
Style Rustic      
Bingo: hits the jackpot, clears the poker table, & rolls a 10-pin strike... + a 3-ball, grand-slam, & touchdown orgy too – All-in-1 & 1-in-Om.

Bars like this we live for, chocomanes, shifting between the mounds of wreckage & detritus that pollutes the marketplace today. And you can tell it from the first sniff.

The Venerable Island (Sri = Sacred, Lanka = island in Sanskrit) & based on the evidence of Exhibit ‘A’ here, this land possesses some holy cacáo.

Specifically, the Matale area located in the same district whose capital is the aptly named ancient city of Kandy (ngl), where nearby The Golden Temple rises or, better put, sinks... composed of 5 dagobas (shrines) & numerous statues of the Buddha hewn out of rock inside the Dambulla Caves.

Another Italian who traveled to the Far East - Marco Polo - said empires & civilizations come ‘n go but good merchants survive.

Silvio Bessone brings the goods: a gift from God that earns respect bordering the devotional.
Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: pink coral blush
Surface: uniform
Temper: flashbulb
Snap: sheers right off
Aroma   9.7 / 10
sensational airflow for MC or any bar period, Dark or otherwise: huge marshmallow plume & slippery elm-> hibiscus -> candied raspberry & strawberries... all shades of Colombia rather than Sri Lanka -> soda pop -> hazelnut the exclamation then levels off to vanilla-musk / cookie-dough & woodens out
Mouthfeel   11.8 / 15
Texture: toothsome as Lord Buddha’s relic in the Temple of the Tooth
Melt: a bit fissiparous
Flavor   48.2 / 50
hazelnut toffee -> cocoa -> mixes w/ those soft hedonic reds & florals from the Aroma, incl Chinese Lantern (a/k/a Winter Cherry) -> teak peeks thru, & satinwood too -> spice (fulgent vanilla carrying its own licorice tea onboard) -> black mulberry creams out in more filberts + the ice-cream bean (inga cipo) as core vanilla weighs in heavily -> darkens momentarily on indigo & ironwood -> regains loft to marshmallow-cinnamon -> slides away slippery elm as promised in the aromatics, w/ marzipan for an Amaretto sunset
Quality   18.9 / 20
Dense & dark; 41% puts it pretty much at the upper register before venturing into Dark-Milk territory. No wheres near the brightness of Cluizel’s Mangaro Lait, nor the light openings to Amano’s Jembrana MC, other Oceanics from the same general part of the world -- making it less rhapsodic than either but a titanic Milk Choc on its own merits. An exposition of sorts between 2 great beans – cacáo & vanilla – each supreme in their element like tigers & sharks (in this case, Tamil Tigers & Sinhalese Sharks, the ethnic parties in Sri Lanka) refereed & brought together by a dairy seemingly from Arthur C. Clark’s Fountains of Paradise which is set up the road at the Sigiriya Rock.

Bessone’s bar work is still in development. He comes to it from the confectioner’s side of the craft & this release further proves it. A towering achievement that surpasses anything he’s done to date, either in the bar or boxed chocolate category. Maybe this is just beginner’s luck, so ride it while it’s as hot as that private honeymoon spot before the rest of the world discovers paradise.

Part of its success resides in those confectionary skills; the other from his diligent search for quality, even rare, bean sources. He clearly found it here (Matale sits in the low-lying area of the Central Highlands), & in it, his masterpiece.

From the liner notes, Bessone believes he found some Criollo on his hands, possible descendent of the revered Old Ceylon Red type. Pod photos (if they actually pertain) confirm a pink coral blush beautifully reflected in the bar color itself as well as that Aroma teeming with red fruit prior to vanilla getting a hold of it.

With Amano’s Jembrana Milk & now this, the Milk Chocolate race is heating up.

ING: sugar, cocoa mass, cacáo butter, milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla

Reviewed Autumn 2009


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