Info Details
Country UK   
Type Dark   (76% downshifting near Semi-Dark; Batch 140030)
Strain Hybrid   (mainly Amelonado crossed by indigenous varietals)
Source Nicaragua   
Flavor Naked   (for the most part)
Style Classic      
Certain people rise up as masters of audacity & arrogance that constitutes authority. Take royalty for instance.

60 years after Alan Turing -- the math genius hailed as the father of modern computing with his invention of the eponymous Turing Machine & a brilliant code-breaker during World War II that changed the course of the war & saved innumerable lives -- was subjected to chemical castration for his gay lifestyle which led to suicide, he received a pardon from, get this, the Royal Prerogative of Mercy office.

Had Turing chose chocolate instead of a cyanide-laced apple to end his days, would he have recognized that life without his beloved might still be tolerable after all?

Chocolate’s great, & this particular bar -- crafted in Turing's home country of England -- very good, but probably not.

Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: rojo-brown
Surface: near-perfection save for a stray flake which this bar just shrugs off its broad 100-gram shoulders
Temper: matte
Snap: shrieks
Aroma   8.7 / 10
leafy -- lit hand-rolled tobac, sharp fruit foliage (of the granadilla, naranjia, pitaya variety), & wheat grass
cardamom spice flint
deep chocolate note
just wins the air
Mouthfeel   13.3 / 15
Texture: fleshy round
Melt: slick
Flavor   43.5 / 50
toasted cocoa -> mild fruit inlay (sapote) -> butter blandishment galvanizes cream in coffee sopping into a background biscuit (so very British) -> intriguing ginger-nut bread at the fringes -> sweet white pitaya -> vanilla custard -> distant aniseed -> sunflower-sesame
Quality   15.9 / 20
A bar of very easy likes.

Bumped-up in formulation compared to Friis-Holm's Rugoso. Plus Duffy "Red Star" Sheardown adds lecithin & the sunflower form of it. Though unobjectionable in this instance unlike some other bars that utilize such, it nonetheless seems to color the profile, generally to its advantage.

Loiters about some in the midsection & almost stalls. Yet even there it carries forth some satisfying tones.

The Rugoso cultivar (for 'warty' skin texture of its pods) nicely distinguishes itself from the rest of the broker Xoco Gourmet's pack of hybrids born from hundreds of mother trees dressed in varietal trade-names, a company designed to fool-proof trees for "dumb gorwers" & dummy-proof cocoa so even amateur barsmiths can produce good chocolate. Witness what Xoco's Indio Rojo did for Duffy a few years back when he just got started, with which this apparently shares quite a bit of DNA. The Indio a Catongo x Upper Amazon cross whereas the flavor behind Rugoso suggests it favors the Catongo a little more.

Some of the Xoco cultivars fall short so far (Chuno & Barba for example) while others excel (Nicaliso & this) for an overall uneven mix.

As a group, they form the byproduct of an effort in juxtaposition to the PCC (Projecto Cacao Central America). PCC involves the CATIE genebank in Costa Rica, USDA, & NGOs. Officially they sponsor aid programs for the environment & increasing livelihoods. Their main objective: high yielding cacáo that's hopefully disease-resistant to the local scourge of Monilia (a wind & water-borne spore that causes crop damage to the tune ~ 25% in some regions to a total loss in others). Their tool kit includes a legion of acronyms -- EET from Ecuador's INIAP breeding program; CATIE's R1, R4, & R6 hybrids; UF types 221 & 296 named after the United Fruit Company (a conglomerate implicated in the continent's socio-economic development -- arrested or advanced depending on one's politcal vantage point -- during the 20th century).

By contrast, Xoco, with private funding, accounting firm acumen, & assistance from the NGO Techno-Serve, grafted onto the work of Tito Jimenez whose breeding experiments comprised the bulk of the company's cacáo selections.

Crudely speaking, they're based largely on the Amelonado strain, some Iquitos & a fraction of Criollo.

Within its portfolio some limited variations can be detected but the aromas & flavors & even pulp are generally consistent. The greatest differences lie in their phenotype (or appearance). So the Johe shows warty yellow pods in contrast to Nicaliso's smooth red surface which leads another breeder to remark that they're all a Ford Taurus painted different colors. Generally true but, again, some distinctions exist.

Rugoso, for instance, might be considered a Ford too... a Ford Lincoln. And certainly a cut above what PCC assembles.

Best to consider them a Central American class similar to the role ICS (Imperial College Selections) plays in Trinidad.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin

Reviewed February 24, 2015


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