Info Details
Country Ecuador   
Type Flavored   (Salt; 50% cacáo-content)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Ecuador   
Flavor Earthen   
Style New School      
Mayor Mike could’ve loaded-up the plows with this Salt & Nibs pack to dump on the streets of NYC during the Great Snow Emergency of 2010. Would’ve melted right thru & freed all the tow trucks, traffic-cop vehicles & double-parked police cars.

Arrives just in time for what New Yorkers need most: more parking wars.
Appearance   2.8 / 5
Color: flat brown
Surface: buckling with potholes
Temper: smoggy
Snap: cowers
Aroma   6.6 / 10
the new now-grown-old Ecuador: quasi-raw cocoa & leguminous vines (or so-called ‘forest meadows’ the “Arriba” tribe extols) -> cinnamon -> signature cardboard... all hallmarks of roasting on the light side
Mouthfeel   11.4 / 15
Texture: pulverized powder & grit
Melt: quik
Flavor   41.7 / 50
buttered goodness -> salted butter -> umami -> rising tide of sodium -> apparition of cherry-inflected cocoa pulled down by the green vines which now stand-in for Ecuador cacáo
Quality   14.9 / 20
About an hour outside of Cuzco sits Las Salinas de Maras at 10,000 feet above sea level in southern Peru. Most skip it on the way to Machu Picchu. Maras is home to 300 rectangular-shaped salt pools, cleverly terraced by the Incas to capture the flow of salt-springs that issues from their hillside. During the rain season, the pools fill with astonishingly beautiful water of varying colors, from white to chocolate brown & coffee black. When the water evaporates during the dry season, abundant salt residues are left at the bottom for harvest.

The springs produce a mild, clean & crunchy pink-salt to form a sweet mineral bath in this bar. The salt here kept in check by sugar (roughly 50% of the total content) which returns the flavor by masking the sugar cane. Nibs then become a non-factor (& chocolate even less so, save for that ending, though cocoa butter does play a major role, especially in the beginning, weighing in at ~30%). Just the opposite of El Ceibo’s similarly constructed bar called Nibs & Salt; the difference flips the order in the names due to an emphasis there more on Nibs than salt... + an arguably superior cacáo.

Where Zotter flecks his bars with just a subtle flick or two of salt to deft effect... to draw out the characteristics of his chocolate, Pacari just dumps it on. And as the motto goes ‘when it rains, it pours’.

That tactic here fails to give the sodium crystals enough tannic support from cocoa mass, doubly critical when using a cacáo of spare genes.

Best used for shavings as a sweet ’n savory condiment.

ING: cocoa, sugar, salt, sunflower lecithin; CBS (Cocoa Mass/Butter/Sugar ratio): 2:3:5

Reviewed April 2011


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