Peru Cajamarca

by Woodblock
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Semi-Dark   (70%)
Strain Nacional   
Source Peru   (Marañón Canyon)
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   (x Sugar [treacle])
Style Rustic      
A bar named after the main town situated closest to Marañón Canyon cacáo in northern Peru.

Cajamarca… where Pizarro founded the first Spanish city in South America in 1532, so named after the Quechua pirhua, meaning ‘abundance’, & the staging area from which he set out with but 186 conquistadores to meet the 80,000-man army of Sapa Inca Atahualpa of the Tawantinsuyu (‘Land of the 4 Quarters’ aka Inca Empire) that nominally controlled the territory in these parts. They met in Cajamarca, just to the southeast.

In a psychological poker game, each man sought to co-opt then dupe the other, plotting they’d get the better of their opponent without a fight.

The Spanish found themselves in a dilemma. An assault on the Inca armies overlooking the valley would prove suicidal given the force disparity. Retreat could be interpreted as a show of weakness, inviting pursuit & perhaps worse in the mountain passes. Doing nothing might undermine the air of invincibility swirling about the Spanish ever since their arrival in the New World.

In a do-or-die scenario, the conquistadores, whose only reinforcements lay 2,000 miles away in Panama, chose a decapitation strategy of ambushing the leadership, in the hope of collapsing the command structure & disintegrating the Inca forces into chaos & mayhem.

Atahualpa decided upon a meeting with the Spanish while leaving the security detail of his grand army behind which he fatefully kept outside the city walls, thinking this gambit a demonstration of goodwill.

He critically misjudged the moment & played right into Pizarro’s hand.

The Spaniard immediately delivered the customary Requerimiento (recognize Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, & Charles I of Spain as King). Naturally the Inca refused. Handed a Bible, Altahualpa supposedly threw it – the first book he’d ever seen - on the ground. show more »
Appearance   3.7 / 5
Color: orange-ade
Surface: flakes, chips, dust, brushes & scratches… other than that 'all good' except for the subsurface bubbles
Temper: maybe 20 watts (same as the brain though)
Snap: snubbed but potent as if Woodblock put the silencer on it; finely sanded edge walls with gaping air holes
Aroma   8.9 / 10
fermented fruit (quite ripe) 'n fleeting flower (quite radiant) underpinned in tree resin (along a surprising continuum of pine needles, cones, & apples)
Mouthfeel   12.2 / 15
Texture: somewhat misbehaving
Melt: beats a rather hasty, thin retreat
Flavor   46 / 50
drupe fruits -> caramel undercurrent leads into treacle -> hemp seed -> those pine / eucalyptus resins from the Aromatics expressed almost to mint-levels… yes, rolls in a Girl Scout® Mint Chocolate without the cookie dough -> superb frangipani (think spiced-fig on a flower petal) -> tonka-vanilla stem finish with fractional gypsum (of some acceptable stringency)
Quality   17.8 / 20
Woodblock resonates & teams up with the crew in Marañón Canyon, Peru to deliver some par excellence even as it veers dangerously close to losing that early fruit-scape & totally treacling out by the midpoint.

As such this bar swaps a portion of the levity found in Ritual's Peru Nacional -- really the only other chocolate of the same varietal with which it brooks comparison -- for some bottom-feeder flavor (the extensive caramel for instance), finding subbasements in this cacáo type that heretofore were rarely unearthed with such savor. And good length because of it in spite of a short melt which never quite finds its groovelocity.

Certainly deeper & arguably wider spectrum here than Ritual's more etherealized rendering.

Other than that, they're relatively consonant with one another in establishing new benchmarks for Marañón Canyon chocolate.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar

Reviewed March 4, 2014


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