Made from Arriba forestero beans from Ecuador, considered to be one of the few forestero varieties that qualify as ‘flavour’ rather than ‘bulk’ beans. A good chocolate to try, especially for those less keen on the fruity acid notes found in many criollo based chocolates. This bar also gives a good reference point for identifying the taste of forestero, even if it is one of the better examples.
Alex Rast: 26-Nov-2006
Out of the attractive and distinctive packaging, the bar definitely looks sinister – very dark blackish, with a bit of mild swirling. Finish is a hair short of mirror sheen, but this may be the product of insensitive shipping, the bar being rather chipped. Aroma immediately identifies a dark roast – with a decidedly coffee overall character and some hints of brown sugar. Unusually, though, it’s pretty mild, not what one would expect of a Forastero like this one. Will the flavour have more life?
The answer: a bit, but not much to write home about. As expected, the characteristics of the roast take charge right from the outset, with that coffee character coming to the fore. Unfortunately, though, it also immediately slams you with a strong and insistent bitter harshness. Perhaps it’s just as well it has been roasted so vigourously! However, the finish also delivers soothing and smooth tobacco flavours reminiscent of a good cigar – a silver lining to a somewhat sombre cloud that proves to be its redeeming characteristic.
Texture is, perhaps appropriately, decidedly dry and pretty average in smoothness, giving a raw, unrefined sensation. It’s a good mirror of the flavour, which again bears that raw character and a sense that the bean was treated pretty roughly. It can’t be said to be a success, though: as a stylistic choice Chocovic may have been trying to make the best of a very potently bitter bean by roasting it until it begged for mercy but these problems should have been solved by more careful bean selection. File this one in the “”needs work”" category.
Hans-Peter Rot: 23-Nov-2006
Low on ChocovicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s priority list was appearance because this bar looks downright ugly. Lots of bubbling and swirling and a somewhat matte sheen all suggest haste, but the dark purple hue is a natural occurrence for Arriba. Smelling the chocolate evokes both fear and wonder. Natural floral tones are obvious but not without an assertive veil of ash, wood, and coffee to make for a very disconcerting and ominous forecast for the flavor.
Although lovely floral notes lie low in the background, their presence is marred by a much stronger tone of ash. Although for now the roast clearly dominates, the chocolate’s true flavor finally emerges from suffocation. Now fruity with peaches, and interlaced with a coconut spike, the profile picks up stronger notes of blackberry and honey, while being overshadowed by a ubiquitous pink floral overtone in the meantime. Pure cocoa then gushes in and closes off the length.
Surprisingly complex but somewhat suppressed, the overall flavor is actually quite fabulous but much too weak in the intensity department. It’s definitely a passive chocolate, perhaps more feminine than masculine, since the general feel Guaranda conveys is gentle rather than strong by virtue of soft flavor and a lack of intensity. Along with Ocumare, Guaranda proves that Chocovic cannot escape an aggressive (and careless) roast since the ashiness of the flavor is a major problem that offsets the chocolateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s balance. Excessive cocoa butter embellishment could also be a factor as well since the intensity is minimal and the texture seems almost too smooth for this varietal.
Martin Christy: 12-Sep-2003
A forestero, but with the red-ochre colour of a fine criollo, a translucent sheen and a dense but visible grain. The snap is a little soft, more of a thud. Floral and tobacco aroma with the musty, candy notes typical of forestero, plus hints of green grass.
The initial taste is acid with iron notes and hints of chilli. Once the melt gets going the chocolate dissolves nicely on the tongue turning to citrus, balanced with a woodiness that has a little fire behind the flavour. Ends in coffee with light caramel and chocolate extending into the length. Lingers pleasantly and fades away gracefully.
While the roughness of forestero can be a shock at first if you’ve got used to chocolate made from ‘flavour’ beans or blends, unlike many bars made of ‘bulk’ forestero beans this chocolate grows on you the more you sample.
This bar really shows that ‘forestero’ does not mean bad, and that varieties like Arriba can be used to produce interesting flavour variations.
This review from a bar made with beans produced in 2001.