Much improved Grenada Chocolate 71% organic. Grenada’s new roaster and pure Grenadian cacao have created something that stands on its own two feet in the fine chocolate world. No longer rustic and in need of ‘forgiveness’, this is a great chocolate to enjoy as a connoisseur, or just to munch.
The definitive chocolate-made-on-plantation chocolate bar.
Martin Christy: 9-Jun-2011
|Source:||Sample direct from maker|
I’ve known and loved The Grenada Chocolate Company since Mott Green first introduced the company to the UK back around 2002.
We’ve watched Grenada Chocolate grow up from being a small, innovative homespun chocolate maker and develop into an international fine chocolate brand, losing none of their colourful Carribean charm. along the way. They’ve survived through hurricanes and over time, have gradually improved the quality of their solar-powered organic chocolate.
Grenada Chocolate is almost unique in the world – the chocolate factory is right on the founding cacao farm, which brings big advantages in terms of cacao quality control, and almost zero ansport and storage issues, but also brings it a bunch of challenges with temperature and humidity control.
As a furtherÂ hindrance, for a while, Grenada Chocolate had to use a blend including Costa Rican cacao, while waiting for the local tress to recover from the storms. The chocolate is now though all purely made from Grenadian cacao beans, grown on the company’s own farm and associatedÂ cooperatives.
Now a new roaster has finally eliminated any hint of smokiness or burnt notes at the ‘edge’ of the flavour profile. Grenada have really cracked chocolate making in tropical conditions, coming close to the quality we’d expect from the top European houses. (Back in 2005, we were calling this same bar ‘rustic’).
The chocolate has a light, rich brown/burgundy colour. There is a masculine snap, as this is rather a thick bar. Raising a piece to the nose, there is a beautiful cocoa dust smell, with hints of sulphur, cream and a hint of figs.
There’s a soft crumble on biting into the chocolate, followed by aÂ beautiful explosion of thick, rich dates, wine, toffee, some cream, spice, ginger and honey, figs and then (black) toffee, toffee, toffee. The sugar is Caribbean organic cane (or maybe Costa Rican, I forget), so not being pure white, there will be a flavour contribution here from the sugar.
I get definite hints ofÂ sulphur, which I findÂ typicalÂ of Grenada and which remind me of a sulphured Dalmore single malt, or Dominican Republic rum. (Have to confess to not having triedÂ GrenadianÂ rum, if such a thing exists!)Â Completely gone are any hints of fat burning or and defects from the non-Grenadian beans.
The melt is thick and fudgy, but not at all sticky.Â After-taste is clean cacao, lightly tannic, with a little bitterness and continuing notes of Â chocolate ginger cake with a scoop of full cream.
This is less fruity than the 82% bar, a style choice according to Mott, so slightly less appealing for my own palate and for this I’ve scored taste and opinion a little lower than I might. The 82% on the other hand is of course stronger, so I can’t help wondering how a fruity 72% would do.
On the other hand, Mott gave me this bar late last year, so it’s been in the review box for awhile and has probably benefited from sitting for awhile – the fruit side has evolved a little since I first tried this batch last September.
If you want to understand the flavour of Grenada, you need to try this chocolate. Here we find the full expression of the flavour notes only hinted at in the Grenadian cacao sourced through the Goverment controlled monopoly, as tried in the likes of Amedie and the Felchlin made Larry Burdick bar.
Here’s another take on the Grenada flavour. AtÂ our public talks, we’ve increasingly been demonstrating ‘slow motion’ and ‘high speed’ chocolate eating Â as a way to show people how to eat chocolate. The point is it makes a world of difference to the flavour if you don’t eat chocolate the right way.
Eating super-slow, only melting the chocolate on the tongue with NO chewing at all, you can really get the full flavour experience. The ‘fast’ way is chocolate in the mouth super quick, no smelling, just chew the chocolate and gone in less than ten seconds. Now the cocoa butter has no time to melt and interact with the cacao solids. Fruity flavours tend to be missed and Â tannins allowed to reign free. Try it on your favourite chocolate, you may be shocked by the difference.
So Grenada 71% eaten the fast way? (Took me about 11 seconds.) Faint chocolate, not bitter, ginger biscuits, nutty, very fatty after taste, lightly tannic without flavour, tannins increase after time. No hint of figs or toffee, except a hint a minute after eating. Altogether a different chocolate. Remember, eat it slow(ish).
Grenada 71% – the old version
When Mott gave me samples of the new Grenada 71%, he also wanted me to make a comparison with the old style chocolate, made before the new roaster was in place and sold in the old style horizontal packaging (which was not so supermarket friendly, it seems.)
The aroma has a sharp intense floral note, almost like jasmin. The mould is the same as the new bar, the colour though has less Â of burgundy tinge.
On tasting, at the beginning the flavour begins quite similarly to the new version – spice, ginger, toffee, but then dives off into milk, sour fruit thenÂ milk again. There’s also some bitterness and a lack of balance, which previously held back the bar from a higher score. The after-taste is again lightly tannic, but has something a little metallic going on as well and is a little fatty after a few minutes.
Grenada has always been enjoyable chocolate, but was held back processing limitations, it’s been improving with every step though, and while always moreish, now also stands up as a fine chocolate in its own right.
Hans-Peter Rot: 4-Nov-2005
First off, I want to commend Grenada Chocolate Company for not being so stingy with this generous sized bar of 113g. Removing the chocolate from its wrapper yields an evenly molded bar that immediately conveys its rustic nature with a color thatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s very dark and opaque, neither glossy nor lustrous as orange tints give an appearance of faded rust. The aroma is wild and strong on the nose, emitting a mixed and feral fragrance suggestive of a darker roast, as coffee and ash notes underlie a vivid acidity, along with herbal and cedar nuances.
Aroma transfers to flavor both in content and in intensity, as this is by no means a shy chocolate. Ash surges on the tongue, but it quickly settles down and is then followed by sweet whisky with mild tropical fruits laid on top, which is further succeeded by shy blackberries. The fruitiness here is quiet and subdued partially, so one might think that it could be stronger had the roast been shorter. A sharp acidity quickly shoots in, a bit perky and sporadic in its entrance and strongly persistent to liven things up. Then, the chocolate takes on an earthier edge, as cedar and pine woodiness enter, which perhaps is a natural flavor of the cacao merely enhanced by the wood roasting, or a flavor introduced via this technique. Either way, the combination of acidity and woodiness drives deep a sharp, yet rusty nail, one that slices through the chocolate effortlessly. ThereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s a strong chocolaty backbone here too, and provides a medium body to the palate, which when combined with the strapping acidity, leaves a tart reminder lingering long after the chocolate has dissipated.
Texture is perhaps the biggest downside, but not necessarily a total negative, as the barĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s rustic appeal is further enhanced by a thick and uneven melt. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s a tad on the dry side containing slight grit here and there.
This chocolate shows signs of promise and a company that is still a bit inexperienced and Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“rusticĂ˘â‚¬Âť in its Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“modernĂ˘â‚¬Âť techniques. On one hand, you have to admire the technological ingenuity employed to produce this bar, yet on the other, the lack of refinement and elegance certainly echoes of a stylistic leaning similar to El Rey. Unlike El Rey, however, this chocolate is much more extreme with its rustic intents; more irregular and off-the-wall, nowhere near the level of sophistication that other in-country companies (Santander, El Rey, Malagasy, et al) have reached. In short, it has an overall rustic appeal; an earthy and rough edge that definitely sets it apart from the rest, yet itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s complex enough to rival other premium chocolates. But it is a bit wild and undomesticated, searching for a place amongst its peers and is essentially too untame to settle down.
One gets an impression that the darker roast and high acidity clash, but the cedar notes and mild fruitiness mediate the two flavors and save the chocolate from total catastrophe. Like Plantations’ Arriba efforts, here we have a chocolate that relies on luck for palatability, but in a market where a chocolate’s success hinges on other temporal factors, much work is needed here in order for it to stand a fighting chance. It’s very much a valiant effort, though, and I wouldn’t pass this up if offered.