A disappointing effort from Amedei that fails to bring out the best of the Arriba. Confused and muddy presentation make one wonder what went wrong. By pure pedigree and breeding, the chocolate manages to salvage some decency and avoid sinking into true mediocrity, but there are far better Arribas out there. If Amedei refocussed their efforts, this chocolate might be a great one.
Alex Rast: 30-Oct-2005
As with the other I Cru chocolates, this one comes in squares only, the more, it would seem, to frustrate and confuse. Unwrapping enough chocolate to get a really representative tasting is a chore, and it’s puzzling why Amedei, masters of sensitive, intelligent packaging design, chose such a useless format. In any case, after opening the chocolate looks very good, semi-glossy and with the expected deep purple-black of the Ecuador Arriba.
Aroma, however, leaves much to be desired. Oddball is perhaps the best way to sum it up, with walnuts coming to the fore but a wierd background of cornmeal and a scent reminiscent of dust. It seems clearly amiss and completely un-Ecuador in character to boot. Were it not for the flawless finish, one would conclude that it had sat too long in a warehouse and bloomed. There’s a real problem here and one can come up with endless theories as to why.
Fortunately, the flavour isn’t so off-center. It starts out with the classic blackberry fruitiness, then quickly moves into a grassy/olive vegetal character. The flavour almost tastes greasy, and it does seem a little flat. A cocoa and cinnamon aftertaste, however, perks things up and brings the flavour back on track. However, throughout the characteristic richness and depth isn’t there, and it’s sorely missed. What seems to be the problem is an overly light roast, definitely a no-no for Arriba where a dark roast is strongly indicated. The darker style would quickly add the missing body, and eliminate the strange, grassy character of this chocolate. It’s convincingly Ecuador in the end, just not a great interpretation – Shakespeare by a school group.
Texture is somewhat dry, and while it’s fairly smooth, there are many smoother chocolates. By itself that would actually be a favourable texture combination for this chocolate but the flavour doesn’t deliver the body necessary to pull it off. Here is an Arriba with an identity crisis – cut short in its development and unsure of what it wants to be