70% Balinese

by Middlebury Chocolates
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Brut   (70%)
Strain (advertised as Java Criollo)
Source Indonesia   (Bali?)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Industrial      
From the middle of Vermont, New England, USA comes Middlebury Chocolates.

This bar a necessity for those on calorie-restricted diets & adverse to indulgence. For in the words of Ben Thompson (1642-1714), considered the first English-writing poet born in America, on the effect that chocolate had on the ladies of New England: “did rot maids teeth and spoil their hansome faces”
Appearance   4.1 / 5
Color: a "purpletrator" (long for purple)
Surface: nice art-skool brush-strokes
Temper: shellac
Snap: hue & cry
Aroma   5.4 / 10
licorice -> coffee-toffee -> molasses
Mouthfeel   9.7 / 15
Texture: fat paste
Melt: a gum ball
Flavor   29.3 / 50
cocoa in a malted edge -> darkens up to java & chicory leaf -> brief candlenut with rice & bamboo -> squid ink -> more grains -> peat 'n umami (the sea salt FX; see Ingredients below) -> sweet tar & sorghum
Quality   8.8 / 20
Confused. A bar that hardly knows whether it wants to be a premium product or a functional food. Best to call it 'bulk dysfunction'.

"Java Criollo" from Bali, the next province over in Indonesia. Possible; except judging by Appearance (yes, sometimes a cover divulges the contents) &, moreover, Flavor (someone was sold a suspect bill of goods... then covered up the evidence with an insuperable sweetener).

Palm sugar... the latest fad sweeping the health food circuit. Tapped, as its name proclaims, from various palm trees (coconut, date, & others), either from the bark as a sap or the flower as a nectar.

With agave now largely debunked, the raw food tribe among various other cults have been desperately scouring the planet for a low-glycemic replacement. Palm sugar almost by default became the next 'next'. Hyped for a couple years as the 'it' sweetener based on its micro-nutirents (but we're human, not insects), until, 'oh no, shit', it contains 80% sucrose (the main reducing sugar of regular white cane sugar). Further, exploiting the palm tree's sugar robs it of the ability to flourish (sugar the primary fuel for fruiting). This presents a choice: palm sugar or coconuts (with all its abundant goods -- oil, flesh, to illustrate but one case

Will the cocoa-thumpers who evangelize the "superfood" properties of cacáo ever come out & acknowledge that chocolate is an indulgence? Derived from a seed for planting as part of its reproductive cycle (if not a by-product of jungle waste)? Never; because there's too much money to implicate the truth, viz., that any health benefits are merely a bonus rather than a cause célèbre.

Myopia is a helluva drug.

Fortunately the barsmiths at MIddlebury Chocolates suffer no such delusions. Their choice of sugars was never based on purported health benefits, but rather because several family members are sensitive to cane sugar. Plus they like the flavor of palm sugar.

The ballyhooed caramel / butterscotch which earns palm sugar its renown never really materializes in this bar. Instead, it galvanizes malted grains (without venturing into alcohol) & other offsets to interfere with inherent cacáo flavoring.

As such, if this were truly a Java 'A' Criollo, Middlebury Chocolates would stand accused of vandalism even as the logic would seem sound on the face it -- for Java Criollo forges great alliances in MIlk Chocolate, & palm sugar mimics as much with its malt character here. Even so it simply fails to make the grade. (Middlebury also confides that this Bali cocoa comes from a leftover allotment.)

Middlebury Chocolates, situated in an esteemed college town, would think wiser to abandon it.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, palm sugar, grey sea salt

Reviewed May 6, 2013


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