75% Dominican

by Middlebury Chocolates
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (75%; Batch #00348)
Strain La Red   
Source Dominican Republic   (Los Pajones, María Trinidad Sánchez Province)
Flavor Sugar   (Palm Sugar)
Style Old School      
Steve Almond, author of The Candy Freak, recently wrote a piece in the NYT Magazine effectively calling for a ban on American football. Well, such a sacrilege on this, the most holy weekend of the secular calendar. It compels dropping “candy” from his book’s title to describe Almond's position more succinctly, no matter how sound his logic (quite sound, in fact).

C’mon, now. Football rises to the level of The New Religion in the USA. A day of holy obligation every Sinday. Beyond a national holiday, the Super Bowl itself is an int’l event of planetary proportions. Indeed, Christmas trees around here don’t come down until the winner hoists that championship trophy sometime around midnight after the game.

Whether tailgating or partying in a bar or at some friend’s house, players mauling then maiming opponents on the field of play & fans stuffing mouths with as much salt, fat & sugar as possible off the field go hand-in-hand while watching the action on flat screens (including those “in attendance” inside their luxury loges… viewing those slow-motion replays of bone-crushing tackles, all mic’d up, can be very arousing… releasing such stimulation amongst the blue-collars in the bleachers who spend less for their ticket than the super-class does just in getting to the ballpark... well, that'd be heresy).

So what better way to celebrate your own personal touchdown & that of your team’s than with some All-American chocolate? Might even prolong the sensation. And should the halftime entertainment flop, just flip over to this channel:

La Redneck reality chocolate.

Couple hillbillies, say, Larry the Cable Guy & Willie Robertson, go off to a college town like Middlebury, VT carrying some of their sugared moonshine with 'em.

Stuff gets out of control real easy & all goes coconuts 'n bonkers.

REDUX REVIEW -- below are segments of Middlebury's Belize 80%, initially released in 2013, followed by a refresher in 2014
Appearance   4.2 / 5
Color: pale rouge
Surface: pedestrian
Temper: grainy
Snap: code breaker... deciphers the crystals loud & clear
Aroma   8.6 / 10
dried out
tobacco & green olive rid the cobwebs & more threads (cotton, flax, linen) + anti-caking powder
hearts of artichoke in their wake

cologne fragrant
Mouthfeel   12.4 / 15
Texture: 2013 parched; 2014 better irrigation
Melt: 2013 gum; 2014 no wads but still somewhat elastic
Flavor   40.2 / 50
easy caramel against a bending bamboo counter -> sugar / fruit complex (sucrose / apricot), savored with saline (nice touch) -> coconut (husk & all) + some aminos, particularly the umami glutamine -> straightens up some with sapote mash -> metallic iron & magnesium streak to lime -> stemwinding coconut-rum toddy -> lumbering finish (immortelle & roblé)

strangely, that rather resinous quality discerned in Middlebury's Belize re-surfaces here (where it shouldn't) along with pronounced coconut (palm, shell & meat) -> molasses rum
Quality   14.9 / 20
Middlebury Chocolate drafting off another of Alex "Taza" Whitmore's cacáo ventures to compliment its 80% Belize offering.

Unlike that, this enjoys a fuller, more active ferment from a co-op that faced some adversities, albeit weighed down by palm sugar.

If barsmiths insist on deploying this ancient sweetener, the newest-fangled sucrose in the West, then they'd be well-served to study up on pairing (the interactions of bio-chemistry & flavor compounds) since palm sugar imparts far less neutrality than refined cane sugar.

Though outgunned 3-to-1 in this 75% cocoa-content bar, palm's heavier minerals subdue the lighter esters found in La Red's cacáo. Hence, this becomes as much an exposé on the sugar sap than on the cocoa nuts.

Perhaps traces in Middlebury's tanks still suggest a former sweetener used in this bar. But only to a degree. By replacing coconut palm sugar with cane sugar, this bar ironically displays more base coconut flavor… scratching' the head & goin' bananas.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, palm sugar (2013) / cane suagr (2014), sea salt

Reviewed July 2, 2013
Revised January 31, 2014


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