Andean Peru: High-End 96%; "Criollo Cuvée" 82%; Barranquita 75%

by Zotter
Info Details
Country Austria   
Type Dark   (96%; 82%; 75%)
Strain Amazon   
Source Peru   
Flavor Naked   (primarily)
Style New School      (as a collective)
Zotter in a triple-bar ode to chocolate habitats on & around the Andean Mountains of Peru – there laying on a log, looking up in the forest canopy, with millions, literally millions of chocolate drops flittering above, the susurration of their flight, soft as breath on Theobroma leaves. Some kind of portal opened in the heavens & abundance poured down over this spot on Earth, on the sound of chocolate, poured ceaselessly, poured before time & thru time & poured into every cell of bodies savoring it. Oh, to live this truth every day, even but for 1 whole hour at least… falling for it again, embodying the billion-years legacy of evolution that lives in every cell.


When gone, let’s hope it comes back again.

And again.
Appearance   4.5 / 5
Color: paler shades of brown
Surface: pro
Temper: Zotter's trademark shimmer
Snap: taut high
Aroma   8.1 / 10
High-End 96%
very deep woods, big Earth, cocoa & coconut shells

"Criollo Cuvée" 82%
peanut oil in a flower bed along a cinder path

Barrranquita 75%
wild Amazon peanut x equally wild pink camu-camu
Mouthfeel   12 / 15
Texture: standard
Melt: regular until a 3rd quarter collapse
Flavor   43.6 / 50
High-End 96%
dense forest minimally opened by a sugar crystal or two -> cocoa butter a harbinger of vegetal savor seasoned by a salt grain which together spell umami -> coconut shell & black cocoa, the lone pre-cursor to latent chocolate

"Criollo Cuvée" 82%
light Naked chocolate (a reflection of this bar's color) -> under-riding cream -> small bitter cuffed in manioc grain (very welcome) -> black café separate from the cream -> semi-bitter salad green (a sprout from the vegetal action in the High-End 96% [above]) -> chocolate-dipped plantain & potato chip

Barrranquita 75%
instant & clear cocoa -> camu-camu edge on the fringe -> hash chocolate -> woods ear mushroom (welcome bitter) -> Peru balsam -> chicory root -> sweetens up cherimoya -> sacha inchi
Quality   17.8 / 20
High-End 96%
34-hour conche
Zotter no stranger to high-percentage Peru. Witness his unsweetened 100% -- a stratospheric bar in the annals of chocolate. And 34 hours in the conche, by Zotter standards, equates with eternity. Necessary though.
It nets a pretty austere bar without being stark. Definitely flirts on the edges of allowing a glimpse of what its full flavor spectrum entails if only more sugar were added.
That vegetable patch in the midsection makes the rest worthwhile.
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar

"Criollo Cuvée" 82%
Piura, Peru; Aprocap Co-op
20-hour conche
Note the quotes around "Criollo" Cuvée added by Zotter itself. Criollo nowadays demands that.
Not a tremendous panoply of flavor -- Piuras only rarely offer such -- but this vintage of white-seeded cacáo marks a significant upgrade from his original 80%-class Piura Peru.

Barrranquita 75%
Just to the northeast of Tarapoto, the location of the Agri MInistry & the USDA field station for cacáo genetics. As Orquidea demonstrates, not all San Martin cocoa is equally poor. This bar here follows in that near-groundbreaking precedence. Best of the set.
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, salt

Capsule Summary
Peruvian cacáo scatters all over the quality map from great to terrible, pedigreed & bulk-grade. In this trio of Peru bars, Zotters sources, as usual, select seeds though nothing rises to the level of Earth-shattering / world-stopping. They all sit in a fairly confined range which by no means surveys the broad diversity of the country's innumerable varietals. And the real surprise of the bunch comes from the most unexpected origin -- Barranquita.
As a high-percentage collective however (spanning 75% to 96%), few other barsmiths can match it.

Reviewed 17, 2015


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