214 Madagascar

by Fresco
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Semi-Dark   (74%; Batch #12-035)
Strain Blend   
Source Madagascar   (Sambirano Valley)
Flavor Twang   
Style Classic      
Rob Anderson of Fresco cuts an imposing figure. While many in this industry are lightweight geeks or, conversely, overstuffed round-bellies who force-feed themselves on puff pastries all day long as if duck livers for foie-gras, this guy could be Clay Matthews’ bigger brother; a ripped Division I level linebacker in the NCAA if not the NFL. Just picturing him batter… errr, ‘manually temper’ a warmed bowl of any chocolate liquor seems tantamount to rushing the QB, completely unblocked, & pile-driving him for a sack.

In other words, very easy.

To do the same with cacáo sourced from Madagascar – which makes for some of the girliest chocolate out there – well, that’d be a Dick LeBeau-style blitz package straight from the Pittsburgh Steelers playbook that nets a blindside hit on pompom-waving cheerleaders along the sidelines in response to said QB, now concussed & dazed, calling an audible at the line of scrimmage during a no-huddle offense that goes something like “Madagascar two-fourteen, Valentine’s Day two-fourteen, chocolate right?, hut-hut, YIKES”.

Ouch, look-out.

Gotta luv this game. Whether fine-chocolate or football, both are violent contact sports. (For those who doubt this & rather think it’s all candy, check out Cocoa Myth-Information for a taste of reality chocolate: commodity trading, child trafficking, deforestation & industrial-sized egos. Or its antidote: the valiant exceptions to re-humanize it as part of The Grand Unified Field Theory of Chocolate.)

No worries; for in the hands of Fresco Rob Anderson, this bar wields both his trademark muscularity & dexterity.

Positively embraceable.
Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: fuchsia brown
Surface: flawless
Temper: matte make-up quality
Snap: sharp & clean
Aroma   7.6 / 10
tang-bang -- dynamic with acetic & lactic acids from the ferment pile streaming bletted fruits & some cheese skunk-de-trunk embedded in roasted cedar cut woods & cocoa syrup
Mouthfeel   11.9 / 15
Texture: waxen
Melt: measured long... & rounds naturally for good body weight
Flavor   45.3 / 50
sensational light-breaking on crushed marigolds, then fans-out fruit-over-chocolate (baobab pulp & golden raspberries / mocha), the latter dissipates quickly in favor of mounting acidity (simulating cranberry & pink grapefruit) curbed in substantial butter (including a micro-milisecond of cheese stolen from the Aroma) -> spices (vetiver - cinnamon - clove) & woods (splintering cedar + pine resin) -> hazelnut oil finish soothes out a puckering yet welcome stringency
Quality   16.1 / 20
Fresco stands up as one of the few barsmiths to reveal its particular roast & conche levels on each of its bars. Having come this far with transparency, it might as well go all in & detail the exact roasting curve + conch settings.

Luckily such parameters can be gleaned in decoding the flavor.

The advertised "light roast" seems more in line with "medium rare" to create that solid chocolate hit at the front. To compensate, Fresco winds the butter & the volatiles a little tight in the conch as evidenced by the Texture & yet just shy of vigorous which would've effaced the citrus notes.

Taken altogether a rather mellow Madagascar with a spectacular opening that exhibits both depth & range, somewhat rare for the origin, which, as expected for it, fails to sustain itself, yielding to a more one-dimensional frame though never monochromatic.

A bar that shows Fresco gaining in confidence & stature.

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

Reviewed October 29, 2012


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