by Biosphere
Info Details
Country Honduras   
Type Dark   
Strain Blend   
Source Honduras   (Gracias a Dios; Wampusirpi)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Rustic      
One of these 3 entries in this review goes by the subtitle Lost City (click image at right), presumably in reference to mythic places like Cuidad Blanco aka Kao Kamasa in the dense forest preserves of NE Honduras where the Monkey God resided & no doubt propagated cacáo, as well as where humanity cut the cosmic umbilical cord.

A forbidden zone not to be entered or, if so, no one can take anything out of, nor to tell where it is.

Ergo, every generation of tomb-raiders & adventurers such as Ted Danger (no joke) "find" it but the exact location & details of its layout remain a mystery which lead many to think that the only thing that's lost are those looking for it.

Irregardless, art historian Herbert Spinden noted during his visit in 1925 some great metates & slabs, implements that signal maize-grinding & possible chocolate making.

According to the flavor herein, more excavation is required to recover the Criollo, as in the original cacáos of the area.

Then again, lots of recent changes have brought development by way of infrastructure "improvements" which enables illegal logging, species extinction & clear cutting for cattle grazing so whatever lies unearthed can steam under a pile of cow dung.

In such conditions just to maintain any cacáo at all stands for an act of heroism.
Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: Seeds: gray skins / blackish cotyledons with a lone golden one
80%: a shade of ferric oxide in saddle brown
72%: confirms the red dye (above)
Surface: Seeds: clean, mostly oblong, semi-flats of average size
80%: respectable
72%: exceptional
Temper: Seeds: resistent shells
80%: emergent
72%: matte
Snap: Seeds: n/a
80%: decrepit
72%: a full-throated calling
Aroma   6.5 / 10
lightly dressed in vinegar (acetic acid)

dried fruits (centered around fig) + BMX dirt bike tires

Ditto although, ironically, more tire treads than fruit despite the increase in sugar -> pepper
Mouthfeel   12.9 / 15
Texture: fine butter
Melt: on a natural sundial pace
Flavor   37.1 / 50
banana-walnut (very nice) holds it poise & stamina with soft background soil & savory, extremely mild bitterness -> chips (yucca / plantain) -> bends a bit dark & dirty (though still tolerable) -> goes down a dense unsweetened walnut-brownie
Unexpectedly benign / kind
INGREDIENTS: cocoa seeds

Batch 11215-A; Bar 124 out of 258
Processed by Pinellas Chocolate Company; Tampa, FLA
tar, asphalt, rubber, smoke envelops surprisingly sweet cocoa -> fig & tamarind -> walnut -> sweet cream / butter
Issues compromise this batch & yet the undergirding bones of the cacáo shine thru the haze / miasma. And for 80%, consider this a tall achievement.
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, vanilla, lecithin

Batch 362
Processed by Castronova; Stuart, FLA
flash cocoa then onto the rubber / tar / gasworks found in the 80% (above) but almond rather than walnut punches thru along with a sweet nutmeg / fennel pollen to mimic spice bread -> no getting around however the burnt Oreo® sandwich FXs
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter
Quality   13.8 / 20
Jorge Schmidt of Biosphere coordinates the operations responsible for bringing these seeds to market. He explains that the central processing facility in Wampusirpi is about as far as one can get from civilization: no running water, electricity nor roads -- accessible only via river or air. Just wilderness…. which can be plenty.

Biosphere sources from 100+ Miskito producers cultivating small plots typically under forest canopy along the banks of the Rio Patuca which forms the eastern border of the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. They tend to 3 phenotypes: old growth (suppositional heirloom?); pre- & post Mitch Hurricane cultivars (the latter 2 introduced by NGOs). DNA testing awaits. Based on taste, these bear mostly the fingerprints of hybrids bred for productivity (likely F1 Amelonado-linked clones).

The seeds are fermented in local hardwood boxes for 5 & a half days, depending on weather, then placed in solar driers. Given the climate, it takes as long as 28 days to dry.

Odd that the unadorned seeds look & taste really clean in their prep while the bars -- from 2 different makes -- are fraught to suggest transport /storage issues; either that or some bio-compounds in the cocoa itself galvanized during the Maillard reactions of the roasting since both bars bear the self-same mark.

Even so, an easy chocolate, low-to-the-ground without much altitude in the way of soaring notes. This should equate to mass appeal. Hopefully with future genetic analysis & further advances in harvesting, the noble traditions of this region & its communities can be revived.

Biosphere dreams big plans to be a transformative force out to organize the various disaggregated stakehokders. Stay tuned...

Reviewed October 1, 2015


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