Good & Evil

by Éclat
Info Details
Country USA   (via Peru via Switzerland)
Type Semi-Dark   (72% + Nibs; Batch #1876)
Strain Nacional   
Source Peru   (Marañón Canyon)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Neo-Modern      
Chocolate enacting a morality play.

From the wicked flip side of Good 'n Plenty comes 3 action heroes who venture Beyond Good & Evil (no, not the philosopher's tome, knuckle-brains; but the super badd ass video game) by sinking deeper into it.

These chocolate martial artists take on planetary alien conspirators (the candy giants) to replant the seedlings of the food of the gods -- genuine Theobroma cacao -- as opposed to the mutants growing on monoculture plantations around the world.

The cast of characters:
mischievous Anthony Bourdain -- 'nuff said, other than if Bourdain were truly unreserved & unrepentant, he'd be a cannibal (maybe he is, during secret suppers with his beloved) instead of taking pot shots at vegetarians while serving up a chocolate bar fit for vegans. Forget monkey brain, ox tail or human rump roast; not even an alpaca Milk Chocolate, Tony? C'mon now, the chocolate-cum-jungle-trek incorporated in this bar journeys from Peru, baby, where it sourced its cocoa prior to stops in Switzerland for processing & finally the USA for retailing.

Eric Ripert -- now he's a badd chef; a super baaaaaaaadd chef. And Buddhist to boot (that qualifies as good). If Jesus turned water into wine, Eric changes the fish swimming in that water into butter.

People wondering what the hell Christopher Curtin is doing in the band... well, he put it together & actually works with chocolate -- an experienced hand at smelting couverture for truffles, bombones & the like. He deserves at least executive producer credits.
Yes, chocolate going the way of celebrity fragrances. It's about time. Dunno 'bout Ripert, but with all the foul fetid offal that Bourdain shovels in his mouth, he can use it.

Connoisseurs or conning poseurs?

One metro newspaper reported on this bar with: The finest in the world? I regret to say I haven't tried all the others.

Thankfully, no such yearning short-circuits an answer here. Abundance the hallmark of the C-spot®Chocolate Census housing the most ratings & reviews of premium chocolate... anywhere.

Ahh, but with chocolate nothing can ever be definitive, let alone conclusive. Not because of some edible relativity theory about how "taste is so subjective" -- an overblown hoax of mass deception cooked up by underachieving foodies -- but rather because tasting is so fleeting & ephemeral (all experiences are; life itself is) to make absolute superlatives evasive.

The culinary arts, to paraphrase the sage Julian Baggini, reminds that we are creatures of blood & guts. Fine food belongs to the aesthetic of the immanent. Really great chocolate transports you elsewhere while never letting you forget its home in a perishable place on Earth. Through experiences like these we reach the intensity of feeling alive; what it means, as Thoreau recommended, to suck out all the marrow of life.

In a world nowadays where 
the most sacred object is a big mouth -- a black hole symbolizing happiness just for the feeding -- these 3 guys wIth so much star power charge $18 for the privilege of fleeing happiness, the average price of a glass at Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin aquarium.

And that's just sour grapes.

To each its own.

Speaking for chocolate, that a trio of culinary titans chose to involve themselves with chocolate’s finer echelons says volumes about a movement taking shape. (In a sign of just how impoverished it had been, these gringos, frankly, knew very little about great chocolate. Most of the kitchen wizards versed in the pastry arts of butter, sugar & flour don’t… hell, they bake with Callebaut or the occasional Valrhona. Hence [OMG alert] the forgivable hyperbole printed on the label: "the finest chocolate in the world".)

Beyond the obvious media blitz & marketing burst, Good & Evil helps alter perceptions about $20 chocolate bars that leave most people scratching their heads like any tight wad who has to pry open their wallet with a crowbar before forking over that amount, to something that everyone can just intuitively understand & pay freely.

By lending their collective reputations to raise chocolate's status, this threesome vouches for its move from the candy bin to the luxury specialty markets & validates what a small but growing tribe of chocophiles has been thinking for a while: it’s worth it.
Appearance   4.8 / 5

Color: medium biege
Surface: super clean on the mold side; pock marks (voids & pinholes) + Nib zits on the airside
Temper: semi-gleam
Snap: in keeping with this chocolate's overall character... lilting
Aroma   9 / 10
light coffee pound cake (made airier with graham cracker flour) & plump "rai-sins"
Mouthfeel   12.7 / 15
Texture: yielding micro-crunch / Rice Crispies®-Cocoa Puffs®
Melt: gentle speed bumps
Flavor   44.6 / 50
instant flash fruit 'n flowers (papaya + blossoms) -> immediately quashed in grains (feuilletine wafers) in response to the Nibs -> sojourns into soft nuts & seeds (sunflower & sacha inchi – the latter a cross between soybeans & sugar snap peas), then malt -> lite stringency, the residuals of vanished florals -> unexpected resurgent fruit spray (cottony whites of breadfruit & cherimoya) -> first & only real cocoa hit (& rather Milk Chocolate at that) reserved at the end as Nibs fully break thru for the finale -> goes downstream all cream
Quality   15.7 / 20
A peak behind the curtain reveals genuine Nacional; sourced from Marañón Canyon in Peru; manufactured by an established Swiss chocolate house; bumped up to 72%; then tricked with some Nibs (metaphorically the evil crunch to the underlying base chocolate's creamy goodness).

All of which confirms earlier claims posted on this website that Marañón Canyon cacáo can tolerate greater weight.

Cocoa butter for the most part makes up the main difference in the formulation. The CBS Index (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio), if correct, of approximately 5:9:6 substantiates as much (perhaps too liberally). It creates a benign profile but one of surprising, even astounding, length / stamina... especially that 2nd wind of fruit toward the end.

No getting around that Swiiss butter pad & stripped conching technique however. They largely neuter this already delicate genotype into a Peruvian version of the Catongo albino. So delicate that a neighboring Broman (cacaotero / grower) remarks if Beniano (next door in Bolivia) makes for a feminine chocolate, then Marañón's "a girlie chocolate".

Therefore, it must be handled with commensurate dexterity. Maybe the Swiss show excessive deference because of it.

Very good, such as it is; too good in fact.

Trouble is, not enough evil blasphemes the proceedings. It's all so kind. A stable continuum with only a subtle flex in its fineness, yet precious little range or depth (ah, that fine line). A misnomer without the opposing doors that the name suggests. Neither truth-in-advertising (see Patric's PBJ) nor living-up-to-expectations (Lillie Belle advising Do Not Eat This Chocolate). It lacks sufficient offsets, save for Textural FXs (though there too the Nibs barely bedevil the works).

Good & Evil by Éclat sums up a mash of cereal gruel that anyone worth their oats eats for breakfast (we've all been here.... since childhood) rather than some defiant last call of the night which the id summons, just as the bar closes, to head out on the highway & straddle the timeline between the darkest hour right before dawn.

This trio needs to pour more liquor down (of the chocolate variety). Quick, lose the butter, increase the cacáo-mass to 75%, & rock back those NIbs toasted in a deeper sinister flame. It'll be pure sorcery & a helluva a bar.

As is, it tastes eviscerated.

That's no unspeakable evil; just a pardonable offense.

And still damn good.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, Nibs; CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio): 25:44:31

Reviewed November 22, 2012


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