Info Details
Country UK   
Type Dark   (65%; Lot 10147 via Coppeneur)
Strain Blend   
Source St. Lucia   
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   (to Naked)
Style Neo-Modern      
That Pac Man checking into Hotel Chocolat's 96-hour conche bar becomes the 120-hour fuel for an orgy of blasphemy at the point when machines become self-aware (Ray Kurzweil's Singularity Epiphany). The next step for them: becoming spiritual – the Battlestar Galactica or Caprica drama - & we’ll be their gods because we are their Creators. And of this too... in pursuit of engineering godhood chocolate.

Does it reach the Promised Land & prove just how aspirational as well as logical machines are?
Appearance   4.5 / 5
Color: pinked brown
Surface: such a looker it got fingerprints / smudges / bruise marks all over it
Temper: dim
Snap: lyrical; impeccable edge
Aroma   8.9 / 10
the Sun-Maid™ raisin girl last spotted leaving the scene of a crime in Ghana (good god) shows up here in all her glorious guises from fresh to dried fruit grape, along w/ pineapple, a refined-to-ultra-fine pair of call-girls making house calls, office calls, club stops, etc. -> swaying pines (pine cone w/ pine nut in tow) -> pure cane, the white sweetspot, mellows soft cocoa
Mouthfeel   13.6 / 15
Texture: hotel-velvet drapes
Melt: sinuously slow dancer
Flavor   47.4 / 50
black mulberry quickly onto instant cocoa, light / slight bittering bite on the back tannin standing-in as blackwood (aka Madre de cacao tree bark) + black cherry, all conjoined for a kind of pitanga -> darkens to black mission figs drawn in honey -> deeply recessed blackstrap molasses leads to long gradual black raisin cave (seeded for a little grape seed extract) -> black birch (catch the theme?) -> loaming chocolate mud pie
Quality   19.3 / 20
These conche experiments seem to be building steam, taking on a life of their own, a chocolate subgenre coming primarily from the Germanic-speaking practitioners of the art. Coppeneur (who also produced this bar) with Chuao (70 hours vs. 100 hours), Zotter’s Perus (a mere flash in the rotary pan by comparison, exemplifying different strokes / different folks at 20 hours vs. 16 hours) & Felchlin Centenarios (Crudo vs. Concha). American upstart Fresco extends the concept to include both conching & roasting. All drive home the point that releasing volatiles & moisture smoothes the contours while concentrating the remainders in a reduction.

The ever-present danger with such an exorbitant conche duration could be stripping the flavor tags like turpentine to paint.

Coppeneur miraculously leaves plenty of them intact.

Certainly more subdued than its 96-hour twinned-mate which, excellent in its own right, tastes of pop exuberance & even boisterous next to this hi-class model. The black-cherry note just the segue from one bar to the other as the cocoa here more fully transfers / donates its charge to sugar for re-partitioning.

So, how does black taste? Very black... sweet black... formal black... totally dark in tone if not flavor. Its blackness, rarely witnessed on these levels, draws favorable comparisons to Valrhona’s Araguani from Venezuela. But that bar, at a higher percentage & from an origin of greater prestige, inheres natural gifts / endowments. This one demonstrates nurture over nature. Coppeneur, in conjunction with Hotel Chocolat, coaxes the maximum & perhaps optimum, pulling out all the tools in the box & every trick in the bag – from the draftsman’s-like formulation to the engineering precision in the technique for total supreme control, on an island whose relatively humble cacáo sits a far cry from the jewels of Venezuela’s coastal valleys yet achieves a stunning nearness, save for that rugged volcanic backbone so identifiably St. Lucia.

An absolutely gorgeous simulacra of Dark chocolate in a semi-sweet format.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, soy lecithin; CBS (Cocoa Mass/Butter/Sugar ratio): ~5:6:6

Reviewed Autumn 2010


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