Info Details
Country Bolivia   
Type Dark   (75%)
Strain Beniano   
Source Bolivia   (Alto Bení; Agua Clara)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Rustic      (virtually crude)
Just as Listerine™ was originally used for sanitizing wounds, cacáo served as a diuretic, a laxative, a remedy for vaginal & rectal irritations.

But if bad-breath is a problem, take parsley or anise seed instead of some bottled preparation. They better cleanse & aid in digestion, helping to get at the root of the trouble.

Likewise, this chocolate will remedy serious conditions.

In 1987 Brian Boom chronicled the ethnobotany of the Chácobo people from Bení, Bolivia who took cacáo for medicinal purposes. A few years earlier, Doug Daly photographed a woman there selling cacáo vinegar out of a massive jug (the one in the photo below on the left).

A bar to capture both of those moments. Take one along with either Miles' Blue Haze or Kind of Blue.

Appearance   3.8 / 5
Color: dark purple-rose on brown
Surface: unremarkable
Temper: flat
Snap: weak along the scored lines but buttoned-down strength elsewhere; perfect break-wall
Aroma   8 / 10
streamline cocoa -> api (purple corn + cinnamon speck) -> hard quesillo (cheese) rind -> leather-backed fuchsia; climbing vines on the rubdown alongside smoked chorizo (cured pork sausage) ‘n locotos (chili pepper) for some cocoa-loco; aerates cinders & coffee grinds
Mouthfeel   10.9 / 15
Texture: goes from bone dry to slippery rocks
Melt: jagged & stringent
Flavor   36.2 / 50
coffee -> brief butterscotch caramel -> bluestone features found earlier in the tail of the Aroma -> vines & an Amazon grape (Pourouma cecropiaefolia) more vinegar than balsamic -> black tea & black fig -> desiccated cocoa tannins -> finishes on an grinding purple corn
Quality   13.5 / 20
Tough bar in practically every respect.

Radically altered formulation from El Ceibo’s 85% and 71%. They enjoy copious butter content. The listed CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar) here of a near equitable 1:1:1 reads illogically (if true, that means 33% sugar, which calls into question just what kind of a 75% is this?). Whatever, it tastes about right in terms of mass-to-butter ratio, perhaps even overstating the latter. And mass is where this bar is at; sugar nowhere near turning any of cacáo’s compounds into sweet fruit.

Instead this bar hangs low or, better still, lies low on the forest floor, deep in drought, presenting an anomaly for a Beniano (the Cacáo Nacional of Bolivia) by forcing predators to juice a stone in the tradition of other so-called Nacionals but from Ecuador: the bean empanadas of Askinosie and Amano.

On the positive side, well-contained bitterness, almost none when one would expect, if not a dumpster full, at least some. Plus, long duration too... to test Hitchcock’s prescription that the length of an event should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder. Since there’s seldom a drop of vital-fluids here, that’s no problem.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cacáo butter, soy lecithin

Reviewed Spring 2010


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