Ocumare 61

by Franceschi
Info Details
Country Venezuela   
Type Dark   (70%; Batch 120806)
Strain Ocumare   (Clonal Series 61; Criollo family)
Source Venezuela   (Sucre State; Paria Peninsula; Hacienda San José)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Neo-Modern      
Almost all numbers in a chocolate bar name refer to the cacáo percentage it contains.

This is different.

The '61' points to a member in the clonal series of selections popularly known as the Ocumare varietal, so christened because it originated in Ocumare de la Costa Valley, Venezuela.

From there, Bromans / growers such as the Franceschis in association with Gianluca Franzoni of Domori transplanted seedlings to, in this particular case, Hacienda San José on the Paria Peninsula as part of their joint rescue & recovery mission of rare cacáo genotypes. What they cultivated would then be crafted into some of the finest chocolate on earth under the Domori label.

In a departure from that delectable partnership, the Franceschis step out on their own for a vertically-integrated chocolate play: a 4-P project (Planted, Produced, Processed & Packaged at the point of origin). Beyond Bean-to-Bar, they join the growing league of Bud-to-Bud™ chocolate (cacáo flower bud to your taste-bud) along with Claudio Corallo, Francois Pralus, Danielo Vestri, & Seneca Klassen among others, plus the grand-daddy of 'em all -- El Rey -- making them all full-fledged ‘Budsmen’.

True single estate chocolate. Perhaps what the future holds in store for all heirloom cacáo?
Appearance   4.6 / 5

Recto / Verso

Color: light cinnabar (strong sign of pedigree)
Surface: chevron lattice work on the front scores thru to a faint ghosting on the back
Temper: softly reflective
Snap: thin pour = thin cracker
Aroma   7.8 / 10
trace Clorox® (the possible result of either micro-organisms still squirming about &/or ketones, the latter an organic carbon-containing compound) bleaches out some reserved hallmarks of Ocumare nut meats (almond) & cocoa-cream -> oxidizes to reveal cleaned oak
Mouthfeel   13.7 / 15
Texture: soft taffy
Melt: gentle
Flavor   46.4 / 50
fruit-laden chocolate right out of the gates (red-over-brown)... superbly-contained tannic thunder rides under a strawberry raindrop -> grows darker toward licorice & coffee without quite spilling over into them -> cream creates a quiet caramel -> tiny back clove -> Milk Chocolate closes the circuit -> vanilla-oak in the aft-length
Quality   18.1 / 20
Quiet thunder in a lean formulation -- cacáo 'n sugar & nothing but -- of nearly zero astringency / well-controlled bitterness. And the tactile suppleness of it... silken sheets of high thread count just blanket the palate with a plush touch.

As noted above, a provenance & seed type seen before in Domori's Puertomar. While the post-harvest may be similar, significant differences lie in the manufactory.

Whereas Domori utilizes a very unique storage system, plus low roast, & relies on the conch for optimal conditioning in the end flavor, this roasts warmer in an approach that sacrifices some fruited dimension & definition for a darker countenance & depth. Those creams, for instance, transmute into caramel. And the CQ (for Chocolate Quotient or baseline cocoa flavor free of any nuances) slightly purloined in the fire to service other flavor analogues like spices.

Still, a true taste of some home-grown produce that faithfully expresses enough character of Ocumare Valley -- even from afar on the Paria Penisula -- to justify the appellation.

The Franceschis clearly mean business. Serious business.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar; CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio): a suspect 5/4/3

Reviewed October 4, 2012


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