Gran Couva 70%;
Bines à l'Érable

by Palette de Bine
Info Details
Country Canada   
Type Dark-Milk   (70%)
Strain Trinitario   (ICS; TSH)
Source Trinidad   (Montserrat; Gran Couva; San Juan Estate)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   (primarily tobacco in a Crossover pattern)
Style Neo-Modern      
REDUX REVIEW -- below are segments of Palette de Bine's Gran Couva Trinidad 70% released in 2014, followed by a modified version -- Bines à l'Érable -- in 2015. The overall rating represents a composite average of both.
Introducing Palette de BIne (PdeB)… a word play on the climbing plant as well as the French sound for 'bean' (of which cocoa is often misclassified)… to The Chocolate Census.

From Montserrat in Trinidad (where the cacáo in this bar originates) to PdeB's home base along the frozen slopes of Mont Tremblant, Canada (some of the iciest skiing in the East), a chocolate that'll hold taste-buds trembling with pleasure.

Chill & trill.
Appearance   4.2 / 5

Color: dark magenta
Surface: plank with simulated wood grain & a wainscoting strip running thru the middle; bubbling on the back; strange "feet" over the sides
Temper: uneven -- flat in parts / polished in others (plastic wrapper transfer)
Snap: exceptional pop
Aroma   8.8 / 10
Gran Couva Trinidad 70%
initially reserved until BIG tobacco (characteristic Montserrat) rolls up around a horse stall in a wood barn (whew)
aerates resinous & citric fragrance (nice) to a smoked musk character (exceptional)

Bines à l'Érable
distilled grapes + aged maplewood & the multi-layers therein
Mouthfeel   12.1 / 15
Texture: slow to release...
Melt: … procrastinator &, in the case of the Bine d'Érable, gummy
Flavor   45.3 / 50
Gran Couva Trinidad 70%
unlike its Texture just unleashes an immediate cocoa-fig -> a whisper of citrus jitters -> breadfruit -> cream aerated in tobacco (like a super rolled cone) -> blackens somewhat (olive / molasses / carob), all enveloped in those smokey tobacco contrails

Bines à l'Érable
that fig again, crossed by slow-developing sap that only instantiates maple at the edges -> brief molasses spot -> ever briefer pine (special though) -> golden glucose -> sits in a cocoa amber chamber for the longest… soft taffy candy -> cinnamon-breadfruit over smoked maplewood (super-fine)
Quality   17.7 / 20
Gran Couva Trinidad 70%

No matter how historic & renowned, for a startup to source Gran Couva, Trinidad right out of the gate seems precocious. Most first-timers resort to either Ecuador or Madagascar because both are widely available, even ubiquitous, hawked by a couple ambitious traders. Gran Couva on the other hand requires a little digging & spade work... like contacting Meridian Cacao which brokers select-grade cocoa nuts for amateur-proof results.

Though a relative novice, Christine Blais of Palette de Bine is apparently no ingenue. For starters she scales this to the right percentage; any higher would darken the countenance too much. Already, the 2nd half of the progression borders melancholy in an echo of Woodblock Couva.

Some of that due to her blazing a roast commensurate to the the cacáo type (on the warmer side in contrast to Ritual's retro-treatment of the same cacáo nut).

An eye-raising / tongue-wagging rollout from PdeB. Broyée as they say in Canadian French for 'refined'.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar
Reviewed September 9, 2014

Bines à l'Érable

Swaps out cane for maple sugar & in so doing mutes & curbs the magnitude of the chocolate but also sublimates the compounds into a forested honey of sorts.

Amazingly it never, as so often the case, screams "maple" (presumably refined granules). Instead this subsumes the sweetener into the greater flavor complex.

Tremendous execution calling on hi-craft. And while hardly on exposé onto the cacáo itself, Palette de Bine succeeds in configuring some heretofore untasted if not unimagined gastronomics.

Whether in English or French, it translates the same: superb.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, maple sugar
Reviewed August 18, 2015


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