Info Details
Country France   
Type Semi-Dark   (70% with Dark undertones)
Strain Esmeraldas   (Criollo group)
Source Ecuador   (Esmeraldas)
Flavor Naked   
Style Classic      
Cacáo from Esmeraldas, the northern most stretch of Ecaudor where descendants of marooned slaves from Africa now cultivate it, can be a hit-or-miss / Frog 'n the Princess type proposition. While it hosts some legendary Criollos from centuries in the making, it also lays victim to encroaching clones.

When it comes to fairy tales, Franck Morin obviously believes… but he takes no chances in waiting for miracles to happen.
Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: brick red...
Surface: … tiles, scored in a classic 4x6 mold; craters & bubbles on the airside
Temper: strong in the center, faded at the edges
Snap: bright & brittle shriek
Aroma   9.1 / 10
malted cereals under a cloud of allspice & cinnamon
Mouthfeel   13.3 / 15
Texture: glides toward gum without the slightest pull or stick however
Melt: perpetual motion
Flavor   47.1 / 50
fruit flash (papaya) -> then rapidly on to damn unusually good flowers-in-chocolate (the musk of white peony / the spiced-fig of frangipani) -> brownie burst to black, but not charred, chocolate-mulberry (damn unusual #2) -> pepper (all tingle, no sting or heat) -> full-on choc-o-lot (a growing theme) -> another quick fruit spot (persimmon, with micro numbing, to dovetail with the earlier peppering) -> backs out on tender spicing (including the fragrant coumarin) -> black cream (dig it) -> black apricot apparition
Quality   18.2 / 20
A princess further beautified by one deft stylist named Franck Morin. Basically the spirit of Theophany cacáo embodied in his Esmeraldas bar.

Deceptive complexities intermingle beneath a Naked Flavor Profile yet resplendent in finery. The FXs ala lace, velvet, gauze, silks, cashmere.

Such a soft, delicate tongue... just encircles the whole head that it swallows itself (lecithin-lubed for good measure). Other than the Snap, that clearing-of-the-throat will be all any can hear during this bar which earns that hushed respect of 'quiet, please'.

Bitter hag? She'd never.
Sourpuss? Nah.
Stringent? Puhleeze.

All flaws for other bars.

So pre- & re-fined, thanks to the good growers on the ground, & the brilliant barsmith in the batch (who understands to leave best alone), that this may well be the exemplar for the varietal.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin

Reviewed February 26, 2014


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