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ECUADORIAN SELECTIONS
Conexión
Hacienda San José

by Various
Info Details
Country Ecuador   
Type Dark   
Strain EET   
Source Ecuador   
Flavor Fruits & Flowers   
Style Old School      (+ Mainstream)
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
Ecuador apparently takes pre-competitive cooperation seriously. At a recent choc fest, the organizers built a large pavilion right in the center of the exhibition hall for a spate of Ecuadorian chocolate companies. There they huddled together in close quarters. Reps generally looked pretty satisfied, appearing friendly with one another. Not so much competitors, at least in this setting, but complements.

Each brand basically follows the same business model: select some cocoa beans from in-country farms (all proclaim Arriba Nacional in their bars as if Ecuador grows nothing but); transport them to Quito for processing into chocolate (handled by manufacturers like Tulicorp or Equitoriana); hire a logo / packaging designer (including that all-important back-story -- typically saving poor farmers). Ditto an exporter, given that local Ecuadorians can hardly afford this.

Where to? The USA & Europe of course. Trouble ahead....

The current bywords on everyone's lips in the craft chocolate world are market (over)saturation. Visit any retailer selling these bars & crowded shelves await shoppers with a bewildering array of options that vary by cacáo percentages, origins & a burgeoning number of brands.

Instantly overwhelmed, the choice usually melts down to not the character of their contents but the color & design of their packaging. With apologies to Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. Marketing triumphs -- again.

Whether craft chocolate proliferates with innumerable small batch markers, or a shakeout ensues followed by consolidation, might be determined by the cushion in their 401(k) accounts because, at this rate, consumers aren't buying the capacity out there.

Or perhaps the solution lies elsewhere still... Now that exporting to America ain't necessarily the route to riches, everyone asks What about China?. Hey, GL there.
Appearance   3.1 / 5
Color: Conexión: ultraviolet-brown
Hacienda San José: more polychromatic
Surface: Conexión: pro-forma
Hacienda San José: pocked; rumpled; grease splatter... just hideous
Temper: Conexión: brooding
Hacienda San José: surly
Snap: Conexión: gossipy
Hacienda San José: loquacious
Aroma   9.3 / 10
Conexión:
100% Virgin -- a scent to behold: that classic Arriba herbal forest meadow lifted into juju fruit
64% Light Roasted -- sweetness eventually aerates caramel

Hacienda San José
caramelized on steroids fueled by peanut oil, the off-shoot of a noticeable underlying roast; intense
Mouthfeel   12 / 15
Texture: Conexión: recalcitrant; clumpy
Hacienda San José: looks can be deceiving...
Melt: Conexión: durable appliance
Hacienda San José: ... full body slam
Flavor   43.4 / 50
Conexión
100% Virgin -- tongue initially confirms the Aromatics including a tiny but brief floral ray-> gradually swept away as this chocolate digs into its roots... literally - soil, fungi, mulch, minerals like quartz in an Earthen conference of undergrowth, quite tolerable / even enticing (however improbable... seriously) -> goes above ground in the final clearing on twigs & vines
64% Light Roasted -- herbed-cocoa -> caramelized BubbleYum® -> sweet moraberry -> blackberry -> jasmine tea -> rye -> coconut-pineapple -> classic Arriba grip

Hacienda San José
true to the Aroma.... caramel, roast, nuts, coffee & then a sneaking berry -> distant orange
Quality   15.8 / 20
Conexión
100% Virgin -- Brute display of (possibly) unroasted cocoa mashed into a bar. Not bad. Then again, what's really the point here as so few would consume this, considering it only distantly relatable to accepted norms of chocolate.
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass

64% Light Roasted -- A peaceful arsenal of flavor. Shockingly replete. Especial at 64%. Yet stays above & away from the cloying line. Great find. Deserving of its own separate review.
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin

Hacienda San José
Los Rios; 80% cacáo-content
Overcooked by about 10º & 10 minutes.
INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin

Reviewed December 22, 2017

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