Alto Beni 70%

by Soma
Info Details
Country Canada   
Type Semi-Dark   (70%; Batch BOL4)
Strain Beniano   
Source Bolivia   (Rio Bení)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   
Style Neo-Modern      
Canadian chocolate fascinates for all its latitudinal angles. Cacáo from the deep south processed into chocolate in the far north, far from its source… from the equator to the poles; the tropics to the arctic; the polar opposites of rainforests & glaciers. The equivalent of a penguin waddling thru the jungle.

Leave it to David Castellan from Soma Chocolatemaker to bridge the gulf via John Nanci aka The Chocolate Alchemist who supplied the seeds for this bar.
Appearance   4.2 / 5
Color: Beniano's purple pigmentation gene showing thru
Surface: a pinhole here, a bubble there
Temper: in recession
Snap: medium pour = midrange on the ear
Aroma   8.8 / 10
a sachet of fruit, spices & leaves that's easy... specifically, in reverse order, tobacco & tea / cardamom & cinnamon / signature Bolivian chocolate plum -> all covered in cocoa dust
Mouthfeel   12.4 / 15
Texture: requires a little chew to help 'crush the butter'
Melt: patient (a Beniano staple)
Flavor   46.2 / 50
delicate cocoa 'n honey, beautifully streaming into Bolivian fuchsia -> mild stringency signals plum skins verging on camu-camu -> faint plantain -> purple molasses -> caramelized fudge
Quality   16.5 / 20
These small seeds produce outsized flavor. Nothing too loud, big or robust; just grand staying power of consistency & near uniformity.

Even the flaws -- such as the astringent residuals from an incomplete fermentation -- taste welcome, a sign of an ever friendly cacáo type.

Soma goes for a middle approach in its processing perimeters -- from the slightly cooler-than-average roast to the even-keeled conche.

Very much the sibship of other great Benianos (The Cru, Tranquilidad, Silvestre & Oialla) although the fantastical tale on the wrapper about this cacáo being wild-harvested on islands made of pottery shards smacks of a Disney production. As one veteran of the Bolivian scene relays, "pottery can be found easily around San Ignacio de Moxos & in the Itenez Province around Baures but islands built of pottery shards sounds like someone brewing something to strong with their alchemy set".

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed August 9, 2012


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