Box Chocolate Review

NeoCocoa

Info Details
Country USA   
Style Neo-Modern      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
Christine Doerr of NeoCocoa repeats “handcrafted” on her labels & verbiage (wow, something’s still made in the USA?) then talks about the “heart of the chocolate truffle” with the ring of another SF act – Huey Newton singing the “Heart of Rock ‘n Roll”. Nothing revolutionary, just a pop hit from a paleo bar band.

But when she shifts to delivering soft “bare ganache” that glides a sensory overload on the tongue... oh, mother F-er... no bang-on mamacita or raunchy Californicator here, Christine caresses the C-spot to its implosion point. Meltdown immediately ensues.

Pure power. Very chocolate; very satisfying; & very quality. The Shelby Cobra of the box transformers.
Presentation   4.7 / 5
visual treat / masculine pink; neither the fanciest nor prettiest box on the block where slick bombones are stasis quo these days; no hi-shine, no airbrush & no gold leaf smoke ‘n mirrors (worrisome when choc companies invest mucho dinero - $$$ - on packaging… usually for hiding waxed lips-quality product); here sharp, understated creativity (impressive w/o too expensive); fabric-embossed deep mahogany brown paper, hinged flip-top box & tea-paper inner-wrapper (bravo); oh-so inviting Parisienne hand-built classics inside... enticing & well-proportioned 2-bite babies calling taste-buds to play w/ that matte, light-absorbing cocoa ‘n dark umber in 64-shades of dusted brown tightly nestled in pleated cups... primordial lust like candlelight, leather & lace (just true chi of the chocolatier’s powers: plain & simple); careful to whom one gives these lest some vixen breaks out the whip & handcuffs
Aromas   4.8 / 5
pretty true & one of the few Americans to sport real chocolate aromatics: cocoa creamery (in huge plumes) w/ light sprinkling of citric-herbs, sugar, roses, coconut, beeswax & oh-so-slight sandalwood loft….bravo part II
Textures/Melt   8.4 / 10
Shells: unshelled bare-ganache
Centers: dense & teasing; opposite of oozy chin-dribbling ganache; consistent, practically fudge-like tooth to the ganache (telltale of a heavy-hand on the cocoa powder that happens to all well-made truffles packed for transit / shelf-life); a bit chewy... heavier then normal pressure required (have an urge to chew down after the bite); respectfully/correctly surrenders to body temperature & tongue; fast, slightly desiccating but even melt + flavor dispersion
Flavor   43.1 / 50
overall high CQ (baseline chocolate flavor), an ever-increasing rarity for assortments thanks to low-butter ganache balanced between solid Dark choc & individual flavorings absent any sugar highs & burn to the sinus caused by medicinal-strength infusions; instead, tannic Guittard chocolate base (no overroasting, edgy fermentation / greasy kid-stuff palm oil aft-taste….clean-cut All-Americana) married by a subtle hand in the flavorings: soft harmonies of mid range thru to the high notes against baseline cocoa... think Ella fronting a trio
Quality   26 / 30
Well-schooled, built & thought out to be impressive. Among the best expositions of Guittard couverture in a boxed chocolate set (decent, mid-range workhorse couverture running far from any Empress Criollo... just good manufacture (reliable, trustworthy & servicable). The usual overdriven Guittard vanilla nicely recessed into a rich & independently flavorful cream.

For such a limited selection – crafting only a half-dozen pieces – each needs to pull off a bullet-proof jewel heist to vault into that auctionable collection amidst the C-spot™ Top Seeds. None entirely stumble, bumble, & fumble. Unfortunately a couple scale short of the summits.

Nonetheless, where others push the envelope before knowing the basics like tempering, NeoCocoa stands for comfortable, firm commitment to detail & understanding the equilibrium of elements, fluency in design, an educated palate & total lack of bull ego-fueled ignorance rife in the world today.
Selections
Couverture: Guittard
Crushed Bittersweet Nib– square chunk of velvet consistency meets up w/ Nib studs to juxtapose Textural contrast; cream seems the carrier then of lemon-resin infusing cocoa for balsamic F/Xs that dry out to wood at the back; starkly good
Mocha Cinnamon– tremendous balance / poise; 3 titans (cocoa, coffee, & cinnamon) suspended in a ménage à gelé creme... all w/ slow hands of soft touch; Texture influences & exerts gentle pull on the elements in a centripetal reaction after a clean coffee front w/ secondary cinnamon sizzle; end persistence of some tannic force accented, again, by that fruited resin; skillful
Freshly Zested Lime– subtle citrus the piercing tip thru, even this the brightest of the set on the face of it, a darkly cocoa until gaining strength for a backlit canvas behind it; good vertical movement
Toasted Coconut– light coconut flavor w/o the oils b/c girding cocoa-tannins against a gritty macaroon inclusion of coconut-milk melt thru to vanilla on the vellum; straightforward
Almond Butter w/ Smoked Salt– far from the 2-tone, dark-brown layered on light-brown pictured in the promo materials (not to mention the white or silver salt crystal which also show dark); sticktoitiveness... almond butter the superglue (both Taste & Texture) onto cocoa, the latter hardly a chance to breathe, while the salt goes MIA until coming forward after the main mass w/, alas, odd chemical fish metal after-taste; bit unrefined / bordering awkward compared to the rest of the collection

Reviewed Summer 2010
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