by K+M
Info Details
Country USA   
Type Dark   (75% cacáo-content; Batch 82471)
Strain Criollo   (remotely)
Source Nicaragua   (Matagalpa; Waslala)
Flavor Earthen   
Style New School      
Data shows that long-lasting marriages are predicated on compatible matches aligning social status, economics, intellect, education, then interests & looks.

2 hi-profile brands -- Thomas Keller & Armando Manni -- hookup in a well-earned star selfie-fucker flex.

Made for each other.
Appearance   3.5 / 5
Color: red eye alert
Surface: clean face; swirly back
Temper: nucleated wrapper transfer contrasts with underlying matte
Snap: meek, even cowering; sanded edge wall
Aroma   8 / 10
brings desiccated wood (Gliricidia sepium [madre de cacao / madre negro aka blackwood]) / lucuma-like granulated sweetener / black raisin
shallow layers of ground cinnamon in the distant backdrop; funks off on dirty yeast & dooky before settling up leather & coconut shell
Mouthfeel   13.9 / 15
Texture: rich; voluminous
Melt: expanded
Flavor   43.3 / 50
the fungi element in the Aroma leads in (woods ear), mixed with a sour aspect (white current), stays on this plane until a bitter black olive almost capsizes the profile with a metallic edge except for a cream undercurrent that salvages it -> folds into faint bitter almond -> rear-action tobacco -> withdraws into the woods -> malted bark
Quality   15.7 / 20
Barsmith Chi Bui at the controls. After a stint with Cacao Prieto she tentatively launched her own label. Then thought better of it (& the grind) when opportunity came knocking from Keller. He hired her for this project. Smart move on his part. An earlier foray into chocolate at Bouchon was basically Betty Crocker dressed as Thomas Keller. No imposter now, this bar exhibits genuine craft.

Hardcore restraint, in fact, for the upside.

On the other side, a mixed lot for a sub-optimum rendering. Yeah, Nicaragua boasts a '100% fine-grade export cocoa'. This isn't one of them (or several others for that matter... but that's another matter related to the politics of cocoa).

Indeterminate overall flavor profile. Doesn't quite know if it wants to sour mash or delve into an earthen bash. Some of that owes to spotty ferment; some at the conching phase which shorts flavor development; the balance on an olive oil additive.

Armando Manni (the 'M' in K+M) touts quasi-proprietary handling of his olive oil to better preserve its anti-oxidants. OK... at the cellular level. Otherwise the oil has limited impact -- its influence felt more than tasted. Gives a double-bump to Texture in tandem with lecithin. It all makes the whole apparatus play heavier, more up to the weight of an 80% cacáo-content instead of 75% while weighing the bar down. Delivers in sum a sort of je ne sait quoi pâté-FX.

Well-heeled palates accustomed to dropping $500+ on tables at Per Se or French Laundromat will register, after feeding off a dozen or so micro-dishes, this bar's plow-thru to cut the many preceding taste-splashes with dark chocolate gusto.

Equal parts culinary & vanity. Neither groundbreaking (olive oil in choc is years old) nor Earth shattering (pretty familiar flavor terrain). And equally commensurate to the brands.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, olive oil, lecithin

Reviewed January 10, 2019


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