by Daintree Estates
Info Details
Country Australia   
Type Semi-Dark   (68%; Batch 1000.06)
Strain Amazon   
Source Vanuatu   
Flavor Sugar   (x Earthen [smoke])
Style Old School      
Smoke on the water… figuratively & literally (nope, potheads, sorry this ain't the bong show)
Appearance   3.4 / 5
Color: milky hue
Surface: a bar purposely broken into large shards
Temper: scratched varnish
Snap: thin as its pour
Aroma   5.9 / 10
zip-lock pouch ala Ducasse, slowly becoming de rigueur packaging of the artisan set
inside replete with sweaty-dripping ferment & wet-dog vomit… what's this -- a barf bag?
evaporates to plain dried cocoa with roasted cheese funk
Mouthfeel   10.3 / 15
Texture: latex
Melt: glop
Flavor   35.1 / 50
brown sugar -> smoked lite-molasses -> pork grinds… slowly simmered in suet / fat -> kava -> blanks out some on cocoa butter which sweetly transforms to tamarind & kumala (sweet potato) -> stringent powder-dry finish -> smoked wood chips in the aft-burner (whitewood - Endospermum medullosum)
Quality   9.4 / 20
Daintree Estates, a consortium of cacáo cultivators in North Queensland Australia, ventures off its big island continent to explore its Oceanic neighbors. Here, the tiny chain of Vanuatu in the Pacific.

They find very little & bring back just some mishandled trinkets.

Perhaps heeding suggestions & following fashion, Daintree loses the lecithin & vanilla that marked their earlier releases so prominently. This bar could use some of each (oh, the New Puritans of Cocoa shake their heads in reproach) for both Texture and Flavor suffer from a lack of them. Then again, they'd serve only to temporarily mask the inevitable: substandard cacáo-prep aggravated by uncontrollable smoke in the drying of these seeds to rival PNG on its more volcanic days. Many Vanuatu growers employ kiln driers & polypropylene sacks.

Including the cooking at the manufacturing stage, the combined roasting level for this bar tastes beyond well-done... but overdone. An eerie reminder of another Vanuatu processed in Australia by Cravve (are they sharing the same shipment?).

Let's be clear (since this bar isn't): there's nothing wrong with "smoked" cocoa per se except when it becomes the dominant or, worse, lone feature.

Realizing such, Daintree makes the understandable choice to mix in raw cane sugar, & a fair amount if it, to color / cover these cocoa nuts with raw cane's inherent molasses. A copious butter pad then attempts to smooth & entrain the compounds with, alas, limited success. Very much the stable mate to Daintree's Milk Chocolate from Vanuatu.

No matter, just as with every child, just about every chocolate possesses some redeeming value. Ditto Daintree's Vanuatu: that fraught beginning melts its way thru the troubles to resolve with some aplomb in the end.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, raw can sugar, cocoa butter; CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio): ~1:1:1

Reviewed December 20, 2013


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