Marañón Canyon, Peru

by Bar au Chocolat
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Semi-Dark   (70%)
Strain Nacional   
Source Peru   (Marañón Canyon)
Flavor Twang   
Style Neo-Modern      
REDUX REVIEW: The following review details 2 bars from Marañón Canyon, Peru, an early release in 2015, followed by another in 2016. Overall rating & metrics (upper right) reflect the updated version only.


From the Lady Godiva of premium chocolate (click image at right). But with a substantial difference.

First, let's digress (as if this review hasn't already).

Chocolate sommelier Roxane Browning, recently anointed by Wine Spectator Magazine, played the dumb consumer role while conducting an informal survey of a few chocolatiers to gauge their understanding of the wares they sell. LMDC passed easily, proffering accurate & digestible information. Teuscher's came across as clueless. Godiva, on the other hand, won the contest with some creative sci-fi.

Its reps kept repeating this fable that the cocoa utilized in their confections originates in South Africa (a country far outside the equatorial 20/20 Zone in which cacáo only grows… perhaps with climate change that'll shift someday) &, better yet, it all grows on one tree. In fact, according to a Godiva Oompa Loompa, each chocolate company -- Nestlé's, Mars, Hershey's, et. al. -- has their own tree. Johnny Depp, hope you're paying attention for your sequel. It all makes perfect sense because Godiva's 85% Santo Domingo bar digs its root into the ground of The Dominican Republic so its trunk & bough can break the Earth's surface on the other side of the globe in South Africa.

Ahhh, the sweet magic of chocolate.

Nicole Trutanich of Bar au Chocolat is far too astute for any of that. Funny thing though, in a way all the cacáo in this bar here hails from a single tree: the mother tree -- Fortunato No. 4 (& her descendants of course) in Marañón Canyon, Peru. From there, NIcole crafts the cacáo into finished chocolate around LA, CA for a North-South dynamic.

You go diva.
Appearance   4.1 / 5
Color: drop-dead gorgeous apricotto-brown
Surface: large in size yet light in the hand
Temper: twilit twinkle
Snap: meek but introspective (a sign of shy depth?)
Aroma   7.6 / 10
jarring tartar sauce / vinaigrette (acetic acid) underscored by wet dog & horse tail
wears better on the nares as time goes by… into those characteristic bletted drupe fruits for this varietal
airing it out further almost rises to the level of perfume

blows up the bar
dog breath & dropping, but these yeasts & stones may not break any bones because the tongue has none
Mouthfeel   12.3 / 15
Texture: semi-anemic
Melt: cachexia of surprising length / stamina
Flavor   45.7 / 50
fructose -> recombinant unto its fruits (nectarine & apricot) -> tries to purchase some chocolate but chicory gains a holding instead, then a light 'n mild coffee-toffee -> whence completely unmoored for very dilute fruit juice cocktail (the above drupe fruits + papaya, including a drop of guava) -> caustic frame (easy to interpret as a floral pattern around, mainly, peony)

stone-ground cocoa -> fat raisin segues into stone fruits of a marmalade / sweetie-pie dimension, just tremendous -> stiffens back up with more granite -> wooded caramel capstone
Quality   17.9 / 20
Thin profile; waif-like. Very little ballast. No sapping treacle or harsh coffee tones that can afflict chocolate made with this varietal. Inhabits the high end / upper register. Quite gauzy, almost ineffable impressions to substantiate the paradox of 'heavily etherealized'.

Extremely light-handed roast & just a baby-gentle lapping of the conch accounts for some of that.

The Valentine in everyone will appreciate this as much, if not more than, an air-kiss.

'Barmalade' chocolate. Sacrifices some of the panoply of flavor from the earlier rendition (above) in favor of greater fruit-acid concentration in a classic A-B-A + coda development. Incredibly expressive & very true to this Nacional varietal, one that rivals Ritual's initial achievement with the same seed.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar

Reviewed February 11, 2015
Revised February 2, 2016


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