Box Chocolate Review


Info Details
Country USA   (Portland, OR)
Style New School      
‘Alma’ mythologically stands for ‘soul nourisher’. Surrounded by sacred images of the Virgin, Isis, & an enrobed Buddha, this stuff nowadays usually signals hippie-gimmick New Age bullshit. Instead, Sarah Hart at Alma delivers real harmony ‘n balance, projecting her creative personality that banks off the natural sweetness cacáo imparts rather than on excess sugar... the roasted bean always present in the interiors, a constant backbeat woven & intertwined with other components, allowing honest chocolate flavor to come thru heightened infusions. As good as the overall line is - caramels easily steal the show (some of the best, most elaborate forms of it yet) – a few pieces are works-in-progress in need of refinement. One to watch.
Presentation   4.2 / 5
aesthetic & inventive; flecks of gold leaf, iridescent washes, & shimmer-dust add sparks, flourish, & caprice; packaged in simple brown box correlating to humble origins but wry sophistication hits at 1st bite
Aromas   4.6 / 5
balance; infusions artfully woven into couverture, the lone exception being the deceptive Jasmine Pearl (more pronounced for more definition)
Textures/Melt   8 / 10
Shells: medium density shells
Centers: variable – some goo / some chew, some soft / some not
Flavor   43.1 / 50
generally slow to blossom; infusions w/ restraint yet well-stated presence, developing very good, distinct flavor though a couple so subtle they lost all indentification; caramels shine
Quality   25.6 / 30
Judiciously sugared / finely controlled balance are the keywords.
Couverture: Valrhona; El Rey; Felchlin; Coppeneur
Habanero Caramel – King has come. Hardest shell in the set glazed in gold for royal shimmering FXs. Great interplay between caramel & chocolate, the latter adding thickness to squidge-centrale, accentuated by a touch of salt as hot habanero slowly heats up the mix only to have its pepper cooled in joining it; bold w/o screaming, slow yet takes a definite stand w/ purpose
Salted Lavender Caramel – denser, chewier caramel but not too sticky; lightly infused lavender - never too heady the herb - w/ a to-&-fro twixt salt ‘n sugar... ever so slowly bides its time in introducing itself
Palet d’Or – molded w/ swirling gold-leaf flecks; richedly Dark, hardly sweet at all; starts mild, gains momentum, pulls toward high-fruit burst finish
Ginger - molded cup filled w/ cream ganache & more gold than Ft. Knox adorning the top; solid choc flavor against subtle ginger that cancels & falls flat
Mighty Isis Dukkah Crunch –the goddess dishes out perfect texture (like 5,000 thread-count Egyptian sheets) as sesame drives well into the cream center & opens up unctuous chocolate bangs
Jasmine Pearl – pearlescent glaze on deep chocolate overshadowing any high fruit or flower petals

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