Info Details
Country Austria   
Type Semi-Dark   (68%)
Strain Amazon   (Calabacillo)
Source Congo   (Rwenzori Range; Virunga Natl Park)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   
Style Mainstream      
An African proverb says 'Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped'.

Clemens Fehr, who brokers cacáo in the Congo from where this chocolate's raw materials are sourced, slipped up by allocating his first shipment to Blanxart. The Spanish company created an 82% knuckle-dragger out of it (& he was perturbed but polite in his reaction to the C-spot's™ review).

For this his second allotment, Clemens taps the House of Zotter.

Smart move.

There's no need to look back now.
Appearance   3.9 / 5
Color: medium brown
Surface: riddled with divots & smudge marks
Temper: semi-shimmer
Snap: so meekly similar to its 82% cousin
Aroma   6.7 / 10
The eternally young poet Wilfred Owen noted that the willingness to receive any number of hits on the nose defines ambition. This then the rhinosinusitis of cacáo... cardboard city (possible mold / storage issues) -> cocoa talcum powder -> dezz nut paste (from the "bush mango" plant aka Irvingia gabonensis) -> njangsa wood (Ricin-odendron heudelotti) -> potted fudge
Mouthfeel   12.8 / 15
Texture: soft & yielding as fine butter frosting
Melt: easy & on the fast side
Flavor   43.9 / 50
quick attack by black cherry, then orange in base-chocolate -> pink grapefruit -> volatiles subside without ever disappearing altogether & flavors transition into the woods & nuts of the Aromatics but, alas, some objectionable aspects too (molded cardboard) at the tail
Quality   16.7 / 20
Highland cacáo from Clemens Fehr, the force behind the Mountains of the Moon social venture in the Congo whose enterprise is covered more extensively by the Blanxart 82% review that also contains his cocoa.

Neither the cleanest nor the most carefully harvested seeds.

Mold in the Aroma & Flavor suggest something suspect. Not bad in any wholesale way; just uneven. That this chocolate reflects its mountainous nature may owe a bit to it.

At these altitudes -- 3,000 feet+ -- cacáo is dried by equal parts sun & wind. The co-op responsible for transforming the cacáo seeds into cocoa beans in this micro-climate attains a degree of drying that rarely tops 5% moisture content, a level usually reserved around 6-8%. While rare, it's far from unheard of... Peru traditionally if only accidentally dries to sub-6% in equally high altitudes (for example, Marañón Canyon at 4,100 feet). If 5% moisture is indeed the correct level, then perhaps it happened too fast & created some malodorous effects.

That aside, this bar delivers what Original Beans' Congo promised (& partially made good on) but more expressly (namely, the orange + grapefruit accents). Slightly greater sugar here assists in further catalyzing the fruit; salt then seems to spike it.

Which all highlights a chocolate that lacks a little depth (one reason why Blanxart might've elected to scale up to the scary heights of 82%). So very surface-oriented that maybe customizing the batch by deeper roasting half of it or eliminating the added cocoa butter for greater mass would compensate.

Ah, chocolate... always a proposition of one & a half dozen ways.

Good recovery however by Zotter to polish this into a workman-like bar.

ING: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, salt

Reviewed September 2, 2011


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