Info Details
Country France   
Type Semi-Dark   
Strain Mara   (Criollo group)
Source Venezuela   (La Guajira border area)
Flavor Naked   (x Earthen)
Style Classic      
A recent visit to Venezuela drove home just how worthless its currency – the Bolivár – now is: people use it as napkins to wrap their empanadas.

On top of that the country experiences a spiraling, vertigo-inducing inflation rate. Officially “just” 68.5% but, like the official exchange rate, that paints a much rosier picture than reality. According to Prof. Steve Hanke at Johns Hopkins University, the actual inflation runs over 800%!?!?!?!?!?!

Shortages of even essential materials such as toilet paper are abundant. Add to that long lines, sometimes lasting 5 or more hours for basics like a chicken sandwich.

In the capital of Caracas, a cottage industry has emerged with people who will wait in line for others -- at a price of course.

Worse, once inside the shop, there’s nothing left on the shelves.

This bar, if it ever hit the shelves in the first place, would be well worth the wait.
Appearance   5 / 5
Color: shining crimson
Surface: runway model
Temper: hi-watage
Snap: a lyricist
Aroma   7.8 / 10
yeast-feast brews up spice broth
turns leguminous, then tobacco
settles down chocolate-chestnut
Mouthfeel   12.1 / 15
Texture: taut
Melt: shuffle the schedule & be prepared to explain sorry 'bout running late for our appointment... uhhh, got a little indisposed for awhile
Flavor   46.9 / 50
legumes & blue stone flip over to grilled chocolate -> malabar chestnut -> plantain -> cinnamon -> lone bitter -> hay -> almond skins -> cream -> cashews -> after-shudders of almond
Quality   18.4 / 20
Just the 3rd Mara varietal to enter The Chocolate Census, though its reputation precedes it by many fathoms.

Such pedigree beautifully rendered here.

The balancing points so supple -- exquisite really -- that even bitterness is accommodated to become welcome; accentuated, perhaps, but deft use of fleur de sel Guérande whose minerality surges in spots to lift the profile. The kind of chocolate which inhabits the sensorium & haunts the memory with future hankerings of 'can't get enough'.

Other than the slow-to-release Texture (which ends up working in its favor since it extends the Flavor), a bar tending toward perfection.

Greatness reconfirmed.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, fleur de sel

Reviewed November 25, 2015


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