by A. Morin
Info Details
Country France   
Type Dark   (70%)
Strain Amelonado   (+ F2 Clonal Hybrids)
Source Togo   
Flavor Naked   
Style Classic      
1945 & the post-WW II years marks a fundamental change in breeding programs for West African cacáo. What largely constituted a rather homogeneous expanse of Amelonado genotype cacáo trees took on significant hybridization.

200+ progenies of T clones developed at the CRIG research center in Tafo started making their way onto farms. The F2 hybrids (F stands for hybrid & 2 for second generation), deployed to combat disease, most notably CSSV (Cocao Swollen Shoot Virus), crossed into Africa’s Amelonado population with consequent results on its traditional flavor profile characterized by strong basal cocoa -- a taste the world came to associate as synonymous with ‘chocolate’ (as opposed to some cacáos that are anything but).

Eventually F3 & then later the so-called Mercedes super-seeds, the latter all the rage nowadays to boost yield & keep growers on their plot lest they flee to better jobs in the cities, dominate to the point where Ghana, for instance, has rapidly vanishing original genetic material crowded out by ‘new & improved’ varieties. Those tally ~60% of its total stock which still experience, nonetheless, crippling diseases. And form a black hole to boot in terms of organoleptics (re: quite insipid).

Contrast that with Togo where, field specialist Dr. Robert Lockwood surveys, the countryside retains ~90% of its more traditional cacáo. And the flavor of chocolate utilizing cocoa sourced from there tells as much. Of course, the breeders, candy giants, govs, NGOs, wield plans to alter its landscape too, bring Togo into line with the rest of West Africa so that the once proud deep chocolate will taste innocuous as coconuts because, hey, with enough sugar & vanillin people will eat anything.
Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: gorgeous ebonies
Surface: challenged on the back
Temper: dark light
Snap: huge phwops
Aroma   8.1 / 10
dry bush / dried flower
leaves behind ground spices

PB mud pie
utterly thick & dense

a landscaper of Togo's tropical savannah
Mouthfeel   13.2 / 15
Texture: lush...
Melt: ... spheroids
Flavor   44 / 50
caramel-cardamom -> breadfruit -> mongongo -> soft Aucoumea (Okoumé) wood -> King Protea honeypot -> winks out vanilla

sweet brown sugar bite -> chocolate bangs igniting cocoa tannins -> subsides into Milk Chocolate -> bumps back up into a Dark-Milk -> supple jujube -> peanut-almonds

another brown waterfall of tall chocolate plunging deep into the recesses to hit a bottomless pool of cocoa-drenched nuts & practically nothing but...
Quality   17.1 / 20
The first craft barsmith to feature Togo as a single-origin.

A review of the chocolate literature turned up little.

Apparently 15,000 metric tonnes annually. Amounts to just a bean in the bucket next to its neighboring countries which produce more than half of the world's total production. Squeezed between Ghana and Nigeria (with Benin thrown in as a buffer), Togo presumably shares their joint cocoa foundation which traces provenance ultimately to São Tomé.

Morin selects wisely from this source. The seed allotment strong to say the least, particularly the Atsane -- a harmatten of chocolate bars... just blows virtually undifferentiated in its power profile. Harkens back to the era when cacáo from this Gold Coast stood for power & might.

A trio of bars here that the cocoa tribunals shall reject for their un-"nuanced" non-"complexity", the tribe which reverts favorably to paleo-chocolate (granite / yeast / worms).

Now that Nestlé's, Mars, have littered Togo's West African neighbors with flavorless clones on steroids, Togo's the new Ghana or Côte d'Ivoire of that classic Earthen chocolate-chocolate force. Which means hope abounds that the region may yet salvage the vestiges of vanishing varietals.

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

Reviewed March 10, 2016


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