Andino 75%

by Marañón Canyon
Info Details
Country Peru   
Type Semi-Dark   (75%)
Strain Nacional   
Source Peru   (Marañón Canyon)
Flavor Twang   
Style Rustic      
The Andes can be cold (remember to bring fleece) & the particular mountain range - La Cordillera Blanca - truly amazes, with 20 peaks over 6,000 meters each. To go from that perpetual snow, down to hot humid jungles along The Amazon where the rubber barons like Carlos Fitzcarrald once got their hordes of Bora tribal slaves to carry Eiffel's iron tower (the first prefab construction ever made / engineered) across liana bridges over torrential rapids. Definitely plays on a sense of space, time, & what’s possible in a few days. A glacial expedition that sounds symphonic in the keys of blue & white, eyre & crag, that goes from soroche (altitude sickness) to mosquito bites in a double-heartbeat.

One hardly needs oxygen-deprivation to be propelled into a profound nod toward the several biomes we’re on the verge of losing in our generation... not just in South America but in about a half dozen places that supply almost all our oxygen across the planet.

When those are gone the ions captured in this bar will bear testament to remind future humanoids, the Robo sapiens, of the only place that had chocolate – namely, Earth.
Appearance   3.4 / 5
Color: light rosewood brown
Surface: bit slipshod; unsettled as if the money-shot still in flow; bent fudge bar of crooked lines; welts, craters, & airholes... adorable really... in between the imperfections a gorgeously-padded chocolate shows the kind enough disposition of this bean
Temper: glaring plasticity, almost a false-shine
Snap: taut solid (no bend here) & sonic in the middle register despite lots of airpockets on the edge wall (combo of slightly over-crystallized / under vibrated?)
Aroma   9.1 / 10
florid & floral as Spring fever: caresses the nose with supple chocolate overlay on soft laurel wood & palo santo -> tickles peach palm blossoms, lemon verbena + just a mite-fleck of camu-camu -> Peru balsam; great oxidation... eventually spurs mango & grapefruit tang soothed in sweet almond oil
Mouthfeel   12.9 / 15
Texture: smooth slip groove
Melt: rather fast paced
Flavor   42.3 / 50
quik chocolate rapidly shifts to mounting fruit & a wood counter nicely cuffed in butter generating faint cream tone-cum-biriba -> caramelized lucuma for a Peruvian tiramisu -> sweet 'n sour, bright white / yellow (cocona) -> vanilla-like Peru balsam in retreat for fermented mango / camu-camu citrus detected in the Aromatics distilling a grapefruit tonic -> at the very back... subliminal flowers (particularized by fuchsia & waranway) in mountain meadows slope against an almost raw-cocoa tannin -> perfumes to a fading jasmine tea placement for an inedible end resembling Kerouac’s Dharma Bums where neither moonlight in an orange grove nor a vanilla ice-cream cone will do; chocolate, please, only chocolate
Quality   16.2 / 20
Dear Chocophiliacs (those who’ve lapped the course & whipped around the cacáo belt at least twice, working off that 99th bar from Ecuador): You know who you are... still hoping, praying, believing that, like El Dorado, the real deal lies somewhere north of Guayaquil. Consider this missive a pre-hab clinic but get the affairs in order – just in case.

A chocolate that disorients, throws for a loop, by virtue of returning safely home to cacáo’s true roots. (For the backstory, check out the bean from which this bar derives, or Fortunato No. 4 for which this bar served as a prototype). The latter may be a "finer" rendition while this is "better", truer to the origin and the varietal.

Looks can be deceiving. This schlub holds the wild heart of an inner beauty bar. And some cat guts too.

A chocolate that typifies Peruvian terrain, especially on the upper register of notes, a little cool in spots, but somewhat milder, with greater chocolate presence than usual, witnessed elsewhere in this country in the rather brash Apotequil ‘Porcelanas’.

Simple but good spatial arrangement creates a 3-D structure of flavor forming an invisibility cloak of sorts over any blemishes, be they in physical appearance, taste or otherwise.

That transformation results in clean / natural taste – very tolerable bittering, practically stringent-free. If the Flavor could only capture the proportions of its Aroma, it’d be nearly a perfect ‘10’. As is, precariously unbalanced at points but maintains enough poise to render those indelible imprints at the finish of an already long tongue (despite a relatively urgent melt).

And this presents the dilemma: the configuration could stand to alter the sugar by a point or two, bump the roast a degree which would add depth, & re-work the conche to calm the acidity so characteristic of this origin (exemplified in the extremely magnified Inca warrior-strength Apurimac by Domori; then again in Tcho’s ‘Nutty’ as much as its ‘Fruity’ bars – both from Peru). Yet a misstep in any direction might spell doom for those floral patterns. The challenge calls for preserving them while rounding off the austere edges.

Risky indeed, & all part of the wonder of it.

And this, merely a crude prototype. Just wait ‘til they patent their craft.

A special canyon-cacáo deserving of the highest artisan craft to transform it into superior chocolate.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cacáo butter

Reviewed Spring 2010


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