House Blend

by Szántó Tibor
Info Details
Country Hungary   
Type Dark   (smooth dark; 70%)
Strain Blend   
Source Venezuela   
Flavor Naked   (with Herbal-Spice fringe)
Style Classic      
Szántó Tibor of Hungary's House Blend, crafted with cocoa sourced from Venezuela. Given Tibor's other bar work -- rather rough hewn -- one could be forgiven for thinking that this too rides like some Motorizado on the streets of Caracas or, rather, on the sidewalks as many are wont to be found terrorizing pedestrians. These bikers serve as taxis in Venezuela (imagine NYC models hailing a motorcycle cab let alone hopping on one… well, actually they do when taxis are unavailable during rush hour or a rain storm… "oh, Frackin A, there goes my…" & they'll accept rides from anyone).

Nope, Szántó Tibor pulls off an about-face trick: a 180º Ollie Airwalk with a Darkslide by the end. Having a sound deck of cacáos helps a lot. Venezuela provides them, even with export restrictions, bountifully -- at least in the case of this bar. Amazing how a country that can barely stock its citizenry with toilet paper (which forced the government there to call-in the National Guard thus ensuring consistent supplies in order to avert messy civil strife) can deliver such supple cocoa.

Maybe chocolate can have its own division within President Nicolas Maduro’s new Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness (no joke, it really exists). Szántó Tibor should be appointed to head it up.
Appearance   4.7 / 5
Color: mauve
Surface: a plaque… take down the Warhol & hang this on the wall
Temper: parchment
Snap: piercing sharp for such a thin pour
Aroma   8.3 / 10
slightly vacant until…
… a plank of solid cocoa-woods counter, varnished in hazelnut oil
s'mores / roasted marshmallow root + banana-cream on the outtake
Mouthfeel   12.6 / 15
Texture: oleaginous
Melt: wee bit con-glob-eration
Flavor   44.9 / 50
slow matriculating butter -> simple but deep vein chocolate, very easy & peach-sweet without cloying or abrading the senses -> liminal eucalyptus vaporizes toward small mint -> recessed hazelnut & vanilla undulate in roasted coffee
Quality   17.4 / 20
Intensively streamline save for subtle offsets will lead the average consumer to mistake this for a hi-end single-orign West African. Very hi-end. But those rolling golden nuts with their calm reserve, especially in the aftermath, orient properly in the direction of Venezuelan pedigree from whence this blend originates.

Szántó Tibor is justifiably proud of this house-blend & extends himself in its preparation -- from the packaging to the mold & final flavor.

He matches all that with a decidedly classical approach (the whole make-up kit of vanilla, added cocoa butter & lecithin + fuller processing in the roast & moreover the conche) contrasting with the Rustic to retro-American tendencies in the rest of its portfolio. Tibor demonstrating he can do what he damn well pleases, moving with ease from one style to another.

Aboce all, dexterity & design on display here as he aligns this blend seamlessly.

Shades of Amedei… Blanco de Criollo from Peru, which has shades of Venezuela Maracaibo… to come full circle.

None of the famed powerhouse cultivars (Chuao for example) from this country; instead this tastes of crosses between the finesse breeds from Guasare / Cabello / Trincheras. If not, then those more celebrated coastal valley redoubts effectively perform a canceling act once inside this bar in the manner of Domori's IL100%Criollo or Felchlin's Centenario super-trio.

Whatever the precise circumstance, fine-grade all the way.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla; lecithin

Reviewed January 27, 2014


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