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Bolivia Beníano
Brazil Fazenda Camboa
Dominican Republic Oko Caribe

by Areté
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (70% cacáo-content)
Strain Beniano   (+ hybrids)
Source Bolivia   (+ Brazil; + Dominican Republic)
Flavor Crossover   (Fruits/Flowers x Twang)
Style New School      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
FULL DISCLOSURE: the C-spot™ consulted in the very early iterations of Areté's bars... so long ago that it can take no credit for the dazzling results currently produced.

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As Facebook's shares plunged & some subscribers fled, CEO Mark Zuckerberg suckered another Congressional committee, several of whose members find themselves on the receiving end of his political cash contributions.

Meanwhile Apple's Tim Cook took to cable news to talk about honoring privacy, American values & setting a bar for ethics in tech world. Grandstanding perhaps but Apple did give the Feds the middle finger over that iPhone encryption dispute in 2016.

Cook went on, almost playing to the Trump base, that, contrary to widely held perception, Apple only assembles in China. Part & parcel to its de-centralized operations far from Silicon Valley into distant corners of the USA where most of the components are actually made. Flag-raising & a few bars, please, of God Bless America. Keep it up &, for legit, Kleenex™ will be needed to wipe away the tears.

It all sounds, well... like craft chocolate. From cocoa grown in the tropics, shipped on the high seas, manufactured mostly in temperate latitudes spanning thousand of miles & million of people.

Coincidentally, Silicon Valley's imminent loss of one chocolate barsmith is sure to be Tennessee's gain when David & Leslie Zenke of Areté open their new manufactory. Yep, micro batches in a micro town — population unknown but rumored to be less than 1,000.

Small town America... weep, weep, that Kleenex™ please... where everyone knows everybody & people quickly discern the trustworthy from the scoundrel. There integrity counts big.

Prediction (from Vegas oddsmakers in American Sodom & Gomorrah): the Zenkes shall flourish.

They're approximately 7 years into chocolate making. Each practically representing the 7 Seals. So devoted to the chocolate code, to unleashing the best inherent characteristics of this the food of the gods. Which in turn speaks volumes in tongues about their character. They go above & beyond during several stages of production (e.g., meticulously hand sorting every single bean so not a single defect slides by).

In other words, they make it personal. And true to their name -- Areté, Greek for many things including high point / excellence / virtue among other meanings.

Appearance   4.7 / 5
Color: medium dark
Surface: flawless front; superficial backside imperfections
Temper: hi-gloss
Snap: low-to-high frequency pop 'n pierced hearing
Aroma   8.6 / 10
Bolivia Beníano
redolent & indulgent
mashed fruits & crushed flowers
quite the fore-tease

Brazil Fazenda Camboa
liquor liquor on the draft, which the stickiest of the blast... Cabernet grape or plum brandy?

Dominican Republic Oko Caribe
trace jasmine
brown fruit (tamarind; raisin)
Mouthfeel   13.4 / 15
Texture: Bolivia Beníano 70%: slightly cool to the tongue & barest wisp of soft sand to stave off boredom of otherwise homogenized cream seamlessly unified with Flavor
Brazil Fazenda Camboa: repeat grain
Melt: Bolivia Beníano 70%: uniform toward a shortened end but flavor carries well beyond finish
Brazil Fazenda Camboa: moderately slow
Dominican Republic Oko Caribe: leisurely languishing drift
Flavor   46.2 / 50
Bolivia Beníano
pom honey -> wild cherry -> citrus currant cream -> nuts wink off in the distance against wooded undernote -> finishes back black-cherry escorted by astringency

Brazil Fazenda Camboa
berry rush quickly morphs to cocoa -> plum transitions into prune over walnut -> resurgent acids brighten... recapitulate raspberry

Dominican Republic Oko Caribe
chocolate-raspberry -> flash blackstrap molasses -> lemon cream -> grapefruit zest -> black tea -> mango -> subtle nut
Quality   18.8 / 20
High level consistency -- both in quality & flavor profile.

Big bright fruit plates. More reflective of the origins than in any house style.

Speaking of which, the latter calls for restrained use of cocoa butter which finds that golden mean between huge French butter bars & the stern "2-ingredient" purists who eschew anything beyond the sugar cane & the cocoa bean.

The fact that Areté presses & utilizes their own cocoa butter from the same seeds as the chocolate bar itself results in translucent harmonies. In that way the term 'single-origin' means exactly what it states.

A few more rounds of bars like this & they'll be heaven's own barsmith.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed May 15, 2018 by Rev. R.M. Peluso

  

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