Info Details
Country UK   
Type Dark   (75%; Lot #13081)
Strain Trinitario   (extended family)
Source Trinidad   
Flavor Naked   (mostly)
Style Neo-Modern      
Rush hour... one of the great modern-day misnomers. It most often lasts longer than a single hour, & usually at a snail's pace.

This bar hails from an island culture that takes its good ole tyme & packs a tender punch.
Appearance   3.9 / 5
Color: intimidating
Surface: rough-edged
Temper: imposing
Snap: slightly equivocal
Aroma   8.4 / 10
jungle-break by an open-field runner
blows by a gust of peanut + vanilla before wading into tall blades of grass
Milk Chocolate dollop
Mouthfeel   12.2 / 15
Texture: strange evolution -- powders away into...
Melt: ... stiff fat that lasts (ruinous lecithin?)
Flavor   44.9 / 50
easy caramel -> soft sapote underbelly -> raw green & bean fringe -> dark-amber Grade C maple sweetener / bark buddy-sap -> walnut brownie with huge nuts / dense flour patterning, crosses over in a fleeting floral print (bougainvillea) -> white pepper -> chalk outline at the rear rolls over into a stale granny's cupboard scent of leftovers from that earlier maple-brownie passage -> gum resin in the aft-melt
Quality   17.4 / 20
Devious: contains both a raw element (that bean) + a roasted one (the brownie).

Hotel Chocolat ("HC") mentions that Trinidad lent its name to the original Trinitario cultivar, a variant of which landed on the company's own estate in neighboring St. Lucia island. The affinity strikes rather obviously since both this bar from Trinidad & HC's Marcial from St. Lucia envelop a darkly brooding experience. Let's attribute much of that overlap to warm roasting & substantial conching (despite the 10-hour differential between the 2 bars; the settings on the unit may have been adjusted to more or less equalize it) as well as swimming in a loosely-related genetic pool.

The rich cocoa-walnut here rivals Dandelion's Mantuano from nearby Venezuela as the slab of all brownie chocolates, pulling the palate deeper & deeper into its fold, lightened only by that brief bougainvillea florescence. The chalk episode, which HC bottles up as a "Bordeaux-wine" in the liner notes, tells of some suspect traces in the mix -- probably a small fraction of slaty seeds or unwinnowed husks -- yet still winsome.

Such minor blemishes have become an attractive trait of HC as it refines impurities into polished imperfection which extends even to the labeling on the package (click image at upper right to enlarge).

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

Reviewed August 21, 2013


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