Equateur Hacienda Rio Peripa 73%

by Benoit Nihant
Info Details
Country Belgium   
Type Semi-Dark   (73%; Lot #0007)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Ecuador   (Pichincha; Hacienda Rio Peripa)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   (in a soap bubble)
Style Rustic      
Similar to "Made in the USA", "Belgian Chocolate" still represents the gold standard for far too many people around the world. They continue inhaling on its now-noxious fumes of the past. Where once this small nation actually stood for quality, it went off the rails a while ago.

Whenever a box stuffed with re-melted couverture bears the promotional hype of "Belgian Chocolate" nowadays, bet that the insides contain mostly bulk-grade brown-sludge. North Americans are especially prone to such con artistry because, they're told, everything's better in Europe (from the food & nat'l health care to museums).

Benoit Nihant desperately labors to salvage a once proud reputation. A few more like him & "Belgian Chocolate" might stand for something again... other than 'refried beans'.
Appearance   3.5 / 5
Color: indistinct
Surface: hasty; pocks, pinholes, protuberances
Temper: wayward
Snap: a saving grace note
Aroma   8.3 / 10
potent & defined
quick floral puff gets washed away by Grandpa's soap (baking soda & linseed + palm oils)
porcelain / gypsum (plaster of Paris)
luckily the perfumes return in a cotton swab to compete with solvents (summarized as a foggy vanilla orchid)
gives off Red Hots®
Mouthfeel   10.9 / 15
Texture: dry powder (none of the wax of Arriba Nacional's past which means this probably ain't that)
Melt: shallow with little resistance
Flavor   44.7 / 50
direct shot from the Aromatics…
Quality   15.9 / 20
… & almost nothing but. Virtually no evolution whatsoever 'til a late-breaking nut, followed by chalk.

Nihant's own liner notes seem way off the mark ("Fresh and fruity. Fig scent, slightly lemony aftertaste"). Fig can be rather ubiquitous in just about each & every chocolate ever crafted as to be a default. And maybe some limestone but lemon?

He also claims 65 hours in the conche. If so, it ranks among the slowest / weakest units around for the Texture suggests about half that duration on some delicate spoon cycle.

Still, the bar comes pretty true to its specific source: genuine single-estate chocolate. Nihant clearly lands upon a peculiar plot of rather unique flavor traits. A bit of an outlier for Ecuador (or anywhere for that matter) without dissociating entirely from others in the area such as Mindo or Cacaoyere.

As such, it deserves sampling for its near singularity.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed November 26, 2013


Pin It on Pinterest