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Gran Couva

by Ritual
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (75%; 2012 Harvest; Batch 001)
Strain Trinitario   
Source Trinidad   (Montserrat; Gran Couva)
Flavor Crossover   
Style retro-American      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
Part of the trick to denial is to deny even it as well.

This much can’t be denied however: making chocolate falls somewhere between baking a cupcake & surviving an alien abduction. Its vortex sucks you in.

If madness is inspiration idling in neutral, then action suddenly causes the realization that only what you have put into your bars can be considered lived thru. That is how one becomes a master barsmith. And at that point you begin, consciously or otherwise, living the kind of life fraught with chocolate. All-consuming to the point where a person ceases being simply human. The former happens abruptly, the latter gradually, both irrevocably.

Robbie & Anne at Ritual Chocolate hover at the threshold. They're getting better at this. And this bar serves as their all-purpose chocolate center.
Appearance   4.8 / 5
Color: crimson-tinged brown
Surface: other than a few flakes, no complaints
Temper: good glitz
Snap: punching power
Aroma   7.9 / 10
a chain smoker: tobacco, smoked ham, roasted dried fruit spot (call it a 'Trini-berry' for now) over bar-b-q wood-chips (immortelle aka “madre de cacáo')
Mouthfeel   12.1 / 15
Texture: velvet touch
Melt: slightly stringy
Flavor   45.3 / 50
chocolate flirt on fresh fruit (grape) -> dried fruit (golden raisin) -> the fresh & the dried now in tandem -> plantain yields to light nut -> vanilla-oak wood of some bitter branch -> unusual tobacco-hibiscus before Ritual's typical granite stone grinders roll thru -> pomegranate -> dry pucker (persimmon)
Quality   17.7 / 20
Those expecting another bar / another burner from Ritual will be surprised with this fine crossover package of flavors. Sourced via Meridian Cacao from the land of rather sandy “chocolate soils” whose pH of ~7.2 contains an ideal mix for cacáo of phosphorous; potassium, potash, & manganese that can often remain moist even during dry weather.

Been awhile since any barsmith ventured to these venerable grounds around Gran Couva, Trinidad -- first placed on the premium chocolate map by Valrhona in the 1990s. This shares the raisin with that, as well as the vanilla bitter found in Christian Constant's take on the origin.

Quite vinous by the finish -- a sort of new M.O. among American micro-processors of craft chocolate. A low Pinot, on the gris side; the fruits a bit too muted for noir.

Black or white or gray, easily the best bar to date from this fledgling label.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar

Reviewed April 5, 2013

  

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