Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (70%; Batch #11100611)
Strain Chuao   
Source Venezuela   (Chuao Valley)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   (some Spices/Herbs too)
Style New School      
When you talk to God, it’s prayer. When God talks back, it’s bi-polar disorder.

Chocolate reviews are littered all over the web now. Most are self-absorbed in self-indulgence. Few have anything to say really. Maybe because fewer still take into account the perspective of the cacáo gods (Click on the ‘Read More’ link under the World Map).

But they do speak... thru their chocolate (it is, after all, Theobroma cacao meaning ‘god-food’). Might be hard to figure out exactly what a chocolate says but based on taste alone it sure as hell says something. It can talk to you like that.

The Mast Bros intuitively know this too. For missing from this particular bar is their customary granny floral-print wrapper, in favor of a costume-change specifically for Chuao.

So how bi-polar is this? About as schizophrenic as the Bros dressing Chuao, which ranks among the most masculine of cacáos, in drag. A P90X™ hunk in a sheer-length taffata-champagne evening gown (click to enlarge bar image on the upper right; & thanks to Frederick Schilling for loaning the dress).

Oh, Chuao, you look so fabuluscious. The gender-blender to infer a 3rd way. Neither religious (difficult to understand the Bible with so much child sacrifice & drinking blood) nor scientific (thinking in hyper-technicalities can seem fatal to being). Just joy in paradise on Earth.
Appearance   4.6 / 5
Color: antique mahogany
Surface: extra attention to detail; bears signature Mast Bros thick fudge-type swales &...
Temper: ... oiled sheen for fingerprint quality
Snap: bit of a brittle pitch; crumbling edge
Aroma   8.4 / 10
density-cubed: chocolate followed on by Dutched-like cocoa, then goes vinous green, plus a spot dooky / funk-in-the-freight-trunk, before impenetrable riverine traffic reminiscent of Bonnat’s CV (his curriculum vitae from Chuao Village) -> aerates well-studied poached-blueberry smoked over dried araguany wood (the Bros firing up the oven, or as some tweeties in the Twittersphere like to ask ‘but can Chuao take the heat?’... uh, the suspense is burning, isn’t it?... please, for about as long as pre-cancerous Chavez can deliver a speech while Comrade Fidel listens intently, puffing on a flavorful Cohiba that would’ve been cause enough for JFK to order the Bay of Pigs operation & should be enough for Barack to lift the trade embargo)
Mouthfeel   11.9 / 15
Texture: significant grain
Melt: powders along with noble fat content
Flavor   46.1 / 50
loads in spiced cocoa (cinamon, coriander & vanilla)-> graham crackers -> soaks up juice from guarana & plums -> prune -> dried apricot -> orange (a WOW-flutter) -> coffee cake -> distilled cocoa liqueur (re: stringent)
Quality   18 / 20

The wrapper reads with an information-rich panel in fraternity with Taza, Fresco & the new school of transparency.

Undisclosed but uncovered here is that the beans were sourced from John Nanci aka the ‘Chocolate Alchemist’. He also supplied the Bros with their accomplished Patanemo, another Venezuelan cacáo. (Note to all would-be start-ups: The Alchemist remains a good beginning point & continues to improves its bean selections.)

Particularly noteworthy for this bar: the ‘Dark Roast’ listed on the label. Seen in this chocolate’s Color, smelled in the Aroma & savored in the Flavor.

Naturally with that kind of heavy roast Pralus’ Chuao -- burned into the memory bank thanks to an indelible blueberry -- smolders on in the mind. This has almost none of the that. A light conche (a purported 3 days; there are conches & then there is conching... must've been in the gentle baby units & readily felt as much in the Texture) sees to it & balances the roasting profile. The combination yin-yang / male-female, & the technical decision behind it, make this the most raw / wild Chuao to date. Especially that Domori-worthy ending (almost alcoholic) which the Italian maestro achieves thru, if not entirely diametric, at least opposite means (usually an under-ferment, gentle roast + a moderate to considerable conche).

Less deep-seated than other Chuaos, despite that coffee-cake, precisely because it unseats core chocolate flavor found in Marcolini among others.

Cunning yet again then are the flavor tags that do emerge. They recall a Venezuelan from Felchlin & not Chuao but Sur del Lago from its glory days (R.I.P.). The sugar plums &, moreover, the orange (when did that ever creep up so prominently in Chuao?).

A bar in which the Mast Bros lay down a potential house-style to patent all their own.

ING: cocoa, sugar

Reviewed July 14, 2011


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