St. Vincent Grenadines
Hacienda Betulia
De Filipijnen
Don Moisés
Cuba +more

by Krak
Info Details
Country Netherlands   
Type Dark   (+ Flavored; + Dark-Milk)
Strain (multiple)
Source St. Vincent Grenadines   (Colombia; Cuba; Mexico; Vietnam +)
Flavor Crossover   (mainly Earthen x Twang)
Style New School      
Crack cocaine, meet Krak chocolate.

Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: Colombia: orange... not burnt orange but bright orange; stunning
Sierra Nevada: orangutan (orange-tan)
Don Moisés: light brown / beige
Soconusco: slate brown
Cuba: black cherry
St. Vincent Grenadines: solid medium brown with a drop of redeye
Jeneverbes: a bright brown thanks to a wink of pink
Tanzania: iron-ore brown
Madagascar: burnt-orange with light purple edge
Bến Tre: pitch dark
De Filipijnen: silver-back brown
Hibiscus / Vanille: stunning rose-brown
Surface: all-pro
Temper: buff
Snap: wear earmuffs
Aroma   8.7 / 10
70% cacáo-content; Hacienda Betulia Lot B9; Maceo, Antioquia, Colombia
cacáo verde / green cocoa bean, practically leguminous, pierced by a fresh frond -> passing fruit plume crushed by dry bluestone pavement

Sierra Nevada
55% cacáo-content Milk Chocolate
créme brulée

Don Moisés
70% cacáo-content; Don Moisés, Soconusco, Mexico
prickly cacti (tell-tale Mexico) -> agave -> bracing tart upper register -> runs dry... arid caramel

70% cacáo-content; Soconusco, Mexico
the desert aspect of Soconusco (above) moved indoors, into a library with a kitchen cupboard, so add dusty / musty pepper, leather bookbinding + a stash of sour bursts & burps -> sweet 'n dry cocoa powder

70% cacáo-content; Baracoa, Cuba
bar-b-q pork 'n beans in sapping sweet sauce

St. Vincent Grenadines
70% cacáo-content; genotype Blend
butterscotch bread pudding topped by the thinest glaze of marmalade

55% cacáo-content flavored Milk Chocolate; St. Vincent Grenadines
disinfectant-level citrus... not the fake virus hand-sanitizer stuff but the cleaner au natural variety, summarized as a lime-pine rooted in caramel

70% cacáo-content; Hybrids; Kokoa Kamili; Tanzania
triple wave: a) sap 'n resin; b) dragon fruit on graham crackers!!!; c) latex in the guise of a red rubber ball

70% cacáo-content; Mava Sa Ferme D'ottange; Madagascar
cocoa tar... a thin asphalt ala ylang -> exhales a fragment of a seed of watermelon!

Bến Tre
70% cacáo-content; Mekong Delta, Viet Nam
blackstone & those only from Việt Nam exotica / erotic fragrances -- saffron, out, sandalwood, frankincense

De Filipijnen
70% cacáo-content; Kablon Farm; Tupi, South Cotabato, The Philippines
a veritable lumber mill, no 2x4s laying around, more like sawdust & mulch, all redolent of deep Earth tone cologne + a sweet top

Hibiscus / Vanille
very vanilla ice-cream (indeed dropping the whole vanilla bean)
Mouthfeel   13.2 / 15
Texture: big & round
Melt: slowly expansive
Flavor   46.8 / 50
milken entrance (betoken of Criollo lineage?) -> color transfer -- orange neroli + grenadilla... followed-on with an Aroma transfer, "green" cocoa bean -> nut skins -> into a bramble thicket -> comes out dry Vermouth -> lemongrass exit

Sierra Nevada
rare black mushroom toffee in cardamom of incredible persistence... only & then barely punctuated by dairy tags late in the 2nd half -> forest honey drizzles atop sweet black mission fig

Don Moisés
those tarts in the Aromatics trot out first on the mango-mandarin side of citrus -> moves to guava -> passion fruit... the preceding all underscored in light avocado-caramel (rare) -> wafer -> excellent cocoa lichee ending

Mexican tarragon -> citric sheetrock -> raw legumes -> bottom cocoa tannins -> malted ginger-breadfruit

transfers its Color (see above) more than its Aroma (thankfully), black cherry in fudge brownie -> an excellent straightforward chocolate-hash -> small back bitter café under star anise -> black mission fig -> rising licorice & lots of it -> obligatory molasses & more of it &, this being Cuban, tobac -> ends whence it began on a modified dense cocoa-dust brownie -> strikes off with a brief, pronounced & unexpected soursop a/k/a guanabana clearing! -> goes down sugar-caned rum-kola nut!!!

St. Vincent Grenadines
sapote backed in very black strap molasses which then drowns in it -> indigo -> intrinsic juniper (hmmm... see inclusion bar Jeneverbesbelow) -> bends toward coffee -> arrowroot -> black rum

direct hangover from the Aroma including, of course, juniper berry which, naturally, leads onto gin 'n chocolate -> mild milking to the finish

overall bearing re-confirms the initial wave of the Aroma (above) -- piercing yellow-white fruit entrance (marula; pineapple - grapefruit), stays aloft a wooded cocoa-clove plank -> softens like melon to balsam then tamarind -> takes on alcohol (gin, then vodka) -> almond liqueur at the very back

POW-WOW (for Power + Wowée) fruit splay -- multiple berry farms converging on a hazelnut flour chocolate base

Bến Tre
spice cake... no ordinary spice cake... none of the usual suspects... instead the very Aromatics airlifted down onto the T-buds (T for Taste)

De Filipijnen
pili nut opener -> fruited plains (rambutan, strawberry, durian) -> macapuna for a reserved Dark-Mylk expanse featuring a soft yet dark caramel -> reverts to fruit (pomelo), back to nuts in a round trip -> coffee grinds

Hibiscus / Vanille
vanilla frosting -> berry blush leads to lemon ice -> more vanilla icing, alternating with hibiscus pound cake
Quality   18.6 / 20
Mark Schimmel aka Krak is a chocolate genius. In a world dominated by slick packaging, oft on the advice of some hackneyed hired 'consultant', Krak instead goes for essentialist butcher block paper with a cargo font + a sticker slapped on, & gets right down to business. True artisan concentrating on the interior contents. Lets the chocolate therein advertise itself. A couple near-miss blemishes in the collection; some of these beans prepped at the source weren't exactly stellar material, he salvaged them anyways for the most part; otherwise these bars are 5-Star including a few unique takes on certain origins, quirks that risk failed experiments.

Wild 'n wooly thanks to processing on the raw side of things for a brassy, immature flavor.

From a supposed family of single-seed cultivars labeled 'Colombian Criollo' on a 15-hectare hacienda. Definitely different than the more renowned Venezuelan Criollos which could mean that this may or may not be Criollo at all in the sense of the discrete genetic group. Indeed a quik scan of the property's trees & pods displays a diverse admixture of types, at least morphologically. Genetic analysis yet forthcoming.

Whatever, the kind of material that snags a ribbon or two at chocolate-eating contests because it busts thru palate fatigue with gusto & vigor.... err, vinegar with a splash of acetic acid.

Sierra Nevada
Where the hell does this come from? Major WOW-Factors! And what of its Chocolate base? From the same country Colombia as the 70% Dark (above) but different region & comportment.

Among the very best Dark-Milks... ever. Tremendous staying power / constancy. And a flavor so true / honest without a shred of artifice. Krak really built a seamless integrator in this one.

Exemplary roast. Warm to the tongue. The black points, yet no blackening / charring whatsoever. Components perfectly aligned & melded.

WTFudge, among the best bars -- Dark, Milk, Ruby (category still pending), White or otherwise -- ever.

Don Moisés
Keepsake cacáo from over a century ago. Again, like the Betulia from Colombia, this too reputed to be Criollo but in Mexico. The color indicates possible pedigree of at least a recessive pigment gene. It tastes interspersed however with hybrids. So be it. And none the worse for it.

Steady as she goes as far as brass tarts can possibly be. Incredible poise considering the inordinate acidity strafing the T-buds (T for Taste). The ferment on this is dynamic / live (perhaps overly so). Krak really contains the burst(s) well. Major flavor development attributable in all likelihood to massaging these seeds in the conche / melangeur. A high-wire act that never falls / fails. Exceptional craftsmanship.

Typifies most Mexican choc circa late-20th / early 21st centuries. Prickly / barbed / sharp. The differential here between this & the Don Moisés (above) is a 6-day ferment (on the longish side) undergoing but 1 turn (thus suffocates cacáo's biochemicals so they can't breathe).
In a fermentation pile, oxygenation proves critical. Not merry Mex but meh-Mex.

Nothing exotic or esoteric, just extraordinary. As in the bullseye direct hit of chocolate with nicely dappled offsets. No kidding around, this gets down to it -- quick. So clear 'n clean for such a dark countenanced flavor. Speaks qualitatively all the way around from on the ground in Baracoa, Cuba to Krak's workshop in The Netherlands.

St. Vincent Grenadines
Unsung origin. Krak going out of its way & off the beaten paths leading to Ecuador, Madagascar, Peru,
So Dark. Monochrome (other than a brief burst at the beginning.) Thick. Brooding. Yet sweet! An undercurrent cross, given its island nature, between volcanic 'n reef.
Claustrophobic in density.

Well-executed complementary stack of choc, dairy & berry. A cocoa that inheres with intrinsic juniper receives more of the star attraction by adding juniper. Quite pronounced without overpowering even as it nicely effaces the heavy ponderous molasses quotient of St. Vincent Grenadines cocoa base (higher sugaring helps too). Smart & sharp in character & flavor. No mistaking though, if juniper berry is what you want, juniper's what you'll get.

Quite abrasive for a TZ cacáo. Its oft-ripe & rather red fruits bleached here. A wake-up chocolate... rousing at first until it warms up by mid-progression. Added CB (cocoa butter) creates a heavy spread across the palate rare for the origin

Sums up a chocolate-berry pie. In the universe of Madagascan bars -- of which there seem to be as many as stars in the constellation -- this blazes thru them all with a warmer than usual roast, concentrated fruit & a dense cocoa base for perhaps the strongest most fortified of them all. Flat out fab Krak.

Bến Tre
Archetypal Việt that tastes more Tiền Giang than Bến Tre. The latter usually comes brighter; the former more heady, like it is here. Then again, since these provinces sit right next door to each, they're close enough.
Super distinctive. No where else on Earth tastes like this.

De Filipijnen
That Dark Milk-like concourse almost flirts of a Madagascan milk with its fruit acids. But its deep dark depths venture elsewhere, diving well beneath. The balance & range speak volumes. Not all of it sweet talk, though plenty of that too punctuates to fructify the profile. Some sharp & grounded edges enliven the bar. A tremendous proxy for Filipino terroir.

Hibiscus / Vanille
Sensational. Each element common on their own but rare together.
Über-deluxe bIrthday cake in a bar &, better yet, exorbitant dowry brought to the wedding reception. When only the finest will do from the best baker / faker / maker in town. Maybe country... continent... world. Galaxy?

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter (for Sierra Nevada 55% add whole milk powder; for Jeneverbes add whole milk powder + juniper berry; for Hibiscus / Vanille add whole milk powder, hibiscus + vanilla)

Reviewed February 23, 2021


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