Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (70%; Batch #10-014)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Jamaica   
Flavor Naked   
Style Mainstream      
On Matters of Good Taste...

Fresco Rob Anderson shies away from absolutes. For him, “chocolate is about personal taste, preference & a number of other nebulous criteria”. He prefers to list each bar & its parameter settings (roast, conche, etc.), & then let people judge for themselves.

Very informative & fair enough.

In keeping with that, Fresco steers clear of any liner notes or tasting notes on the packaging that’d prejudice a customer’s impressions (a wise choice for a start-up working out the kinks rather than attempting to calibrate the details, few of which are ever accurate even by the seasoned veterans; the few exceptions being masters like Domori, Bonnat & a couple others whose notes are generally instructive).

This approach mimics the overarching spirit of the times: relativity.

Funny though... in terms of sound, humans have more or less agreed on some tones being more pleasing than others (for example, a triad versus a tritone; the latter definitely has its place & purpose, especially valued in idiomatic placements). This emerged over centuries & pre-dates Bach’s well-tempered exercise in fixing the major / minor scales. Pythagoras well before him theorized certain mathematical principles that led to the harmonic overtone series & acoustic relationships.

Likewise, the Western canon, that archive under siege from the School of Relativists, generally elevates, say, Beethoven’s 9th above Ga-Ga's Born This Way. Or to be more street, an ice-cream truck jingle over a police siren.

Driving the theme farther home, we reach consensus on vision as well. No one except the blind (in which case they’d be cited for another infraction) can talk their way out of a moving violation for running a traffic light with the excuse of ‘officer, a peculiar doppler-effect in my field of vision makes red appear green’. (Try it & see what happens.)

Ditto touch: while some may prefer thorns to roses, they represent a distinct minority.

These senses we generally agree on. But for some odd twitch when it comes to matters of taste, common ground gets tossed out the window & trashed with ‘it’s so subjective’ and ‘way too personal’.


Why is that? show more »
Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: magenta
Surface: immaculate save for minor pinholes in the mold corners
Temper: neutral / natural with a gauzy backside shimmer
Snap: tin click; slight caking to the edge wall
Aroma   8.2 / 10
self-same resinous-raisin-molasses found in the Flavor of this sib’s primitive 70% ‘subtle conche’ job, but with more juniper for pine-soil FXs... the flint to smoked woodchips that eventually lighten the draft with spices
Mouthfeel   12.8 / 15
Texture: mid-weight ease
Melt: rhythmic & gradual
Flavor   43.2 / 50
bangs in chocolate brownies & nothing but... brownies & a small off-walnut -> in the back distance limestone scraping up against a peach-palm -> dissipates Betty Crocker™ chocolate cake flour wth a shake of allspice ‘n sassafras -> Thompson raisin in the after-effect
Quality   16.7 / 20
Single dimensional. Nice & forgiving as Jamaica cacáo’s usually wont.

This, the bolder brother of Fresco’s Jamaican twins (the other named #209); same dark roast, just a longer conche. That difference here effaces whatever fragile upper-register flavor tags this delicate origin has to offer. A complete mismatch of house style-to-varietal. Turns a potentially exquisite origin-chocolate into a cross between Ivory Coast cocoa & that from Congo (or to be more generous, neighboring Grenada).

Much improved nonetheless in spite of it (an apology really for #209). The deeper churning action of the conche turns all those lava-like sediments found throughout #209 into core chocolate, as well as extends the length of the progression.

Devised within an informative house-schematic that varies a) roast (LightMediumDark ) & b) conche (NoneSubtleMediumLong), so each allotment potentially undergoes a cycle of 12 adjustable settings, yielding a dozen different interpretations. This one - #210 - processed according to a bold dark roast treated to a medium conche (versus the #209's 'subtle' conching).

Trouble is, few origins, let alone beans, are suited for such widely variable experimentation, no matter how marketable it sounds.

Such forced-rigor violates the unwritten 11th Law of Chocodynamics in accord with the Domori Codice: respect the bean. The difference between experience & eagerness, wisdom & whimsy.

Far be it for anyone to question another person’s liking or disliking this bar... ‘to each their own’. And objectively, this is a bar comfortable with itself, such as it is; good on its own terms.

It’s simply a matter of waste... of an origin & a seed type.

That aside, Fresco's conceptualizations of the manufacturing process broaden the consumer's understanding of it, & present a huge boost to transparency in an industry marked by secrecy. Rob Anderson of Fresco should be congratulated. Trust that in a couple seasons he'll have the dials on the varietals precisely figured out.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter; CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar) ~3:3:2

Reviewed July 2011


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