Polochic Valley 100%

by Fresco
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Brut   (restrained)
Strain Hybrid   
Source Guatemala   (Polochic Valley)
Flavor Earthen   
Style Neo-Modern      
As Central America re-discovers their cacáo traditions, a caravan of cocoa from there "invades" the USA.

Maybe immigrants pooling just south of the border are muling that into the country. Extends the definition of value-add by way of hand delivery. Because clearly the price of cocoa beans -- even at $10 to $15 per bar retail -- ain't enough to keep Hondurans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans home to husband their cacáo trees exclusively.

Something's going on. Ahhh, the messy affairs behind the socio-political economics of chocolate.

That'd be inflating the importance of this niche. As a microcosm of the larger world, though, it should be better. Ya know, people get along, they like their neighbors, they prosper together. Everyone harmonizes. For the most part that holds & humans work it out except for the 1% or so of psychopaths that lead to bleeding headlines which agitates the remaining peaceable types who think 'damn, gotta get mine before this whole shithole blows'.

With barriers of entry so low, more & more barsmiths set up ops, crowding the already competitive store shelves. Are they making it or faking it? Some are... faking it until they make it, that is. Others shutter or sell the biz. A handful actually generate a handsome -- vulgarity alert; dirty capitalist word ahead -- profit. (One can only Occupy Wall St. for so long before the newborns demand feeding.)

Whether Fresco operates in the red or black, it can't fake this -- a 100% unsweetened chocolate -- because there's nothing to fall back on. Skills required.

Have some: unsweetened chocolate by Fresco utilizing cocoa sourced from Guatemala. A kind of primer for the current state of the bittersweet pursuit of happiness.

Appearance   4.7 / 5
Color: gilded brown
Surface: clean
Temper: matte
Snap: super snug
Aroma   8 / 10
sour stank fruit
substrate of durty dirt
ginch of sweat socks
gleeful spice
a bit of bituminous thrown on


oh, rich cocoa too
Mouthfeel   14.1 / 15
Texture: no gum-up-the-works paste that typifies most 100s
Melt: easy glider
Flavor   43.3 / 50
dry butter -> topsoil, then worms along a mushroom or 2 -> savory umami.... oh, baby -- potato chip-worthy with a flash bitter green sprout -> the balsam-ness of liquidambar (think sweet, short grass) -> frangipani (gone missing in choc bars for awhile; welcome back; nice) -> recessed fruit sweetener (moraberry), quite remote -> clear mineral flush at the finish
Quality   17 / 20
The cocoa nuts comprising this bar contain some fat onboard-lipids &/or Fresco saddled them up with add'l cocoa butter. Could be as much the former as the latter since Central American cocoa crops in recent years tip the scales up to nearly 60% lipid content.

Translates either way into excellent tolerance for an unsweetened. Never an off beat or brash cadence.

Fresco gives it the light roast / long conche treatment in some well-set parameters.

While shy of the most inviting 100% -- initiates will be taken aback by the overall continuum -- it more than holds its own as palatable. Take as a condiment which will complement just about anything from dishes to your day.

All redolent of the origin, the flavor, the processing, & interrelationships showing incremental progress.

Yes, the taste of progress.

Reviewed November 27, 2018


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