Endangered Species seems to be filling a different niche than producing fine quality chocolate. If they wish to be successful with their mission, then they must produce better products than this bar. Although the cause may be noble, this company must also be aware that the organic and fair trade market is experiencing major improvements in quality. This bar suggests these guys are still stuck in the dark ages.
Alex Rast: 27-Jan-2006
After a brief, unfortunate venture into vegelate, ESCC returns to sanity with a pure dark chocolate. It’s hard to overstate the tremendous improvement over what they had before, although in a still-more-distant past their dark chocolate was better still. This is a good if flawed organic, worth trying if not necessarily worth repeat buys. Fairly typical of the new-breed genre, so overall a pretty fruity bar with a sharp ferment. Definitely try it, although don’t expect any miracles.
ESCC’s bar looks relatively typical for the organic market – that is to say, a bit on the rough-and-ready side. Colour is dark yet with ruddy highlights, suggesting promise, and the finish, if matte, isn’t badly flat.
The aroma causes the heart to leap into the throat, an explosion of complexity that leaves one shaking in anticipation. It starts out with a sharp cherry, then proceeds to mellow into molasses. So far, so typical, but then the aroma adventure begins, with tobacco mixed with spice meandering in and out, and even earthiness mixed in there. It’s a full exploration of the aroma terrain and an indication that this chocolate could be world-class. Have they found the elusive perfect balance?
Unfortunately, the flavour can’t live up to the aroma hype, even if it isn’t bad at all. At first, signs are good: the flavour is a pleasant strawberry/cherry fruitiness. Then, however, a decidedly alarming note – turpentine, sets in, and this suggests serious problems with the ferment.
Earthy highlights also feature in here, although they don’t amount to more than a background. Finish sort of droops into a sugar cane and tobacco sweetness, a disappointing end to something that started so well. On balance the overall flavour isn’t at all bad, however, its definite shortcomings prevent it from being superb.
It’s neither great nor terrible in smoothness, more or less along the lines of a typical commercial bar, and the same can be said for mouthfeel where it’s creamy but not really spectacularly so. This bar could easily be improved with one small modification – a slightly longer roast. It’s tempting to try to retain the most of that fruitiness, but the turpentine flavour really has to go, and the earthy background could use some enhancement, all of which a darker roast would accomplish. ESCC used to make a really good organic chocolate for the “”Bug Bites”" squares, and why they chose to play around with formulations is anyone’s guess. But this chocolate if nothing else indicates they’re headed in the right direction again.
Hans-Peter Rot: 5-Jan-2006
A small rectangular bar with butterfly designs as part of the mold, the appearance is quite nice and charming, right down to the rusty color, even if the actual molding job appears rushed and careless. Aroma, too, is questionable. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s highly vegetal in a bad way, resembling turnips or rutabagas accented by woody cinnamon. It’s an aroma expected at an Irish dinner, not in a chocolate bar.
Bon apetÃƒÂ©t, folks. Prepare for the same guests in the flavor. Sweet cinnamon shows up first with earthy and vegetal elements underneath, mirroring the aroma heavily, and being rather tan in overall intensity, meaning that this is a very mild chocolate. Vanilla soon comes in to dominate over all this, as if ESCC intentionally added it to rectify an irregularity (hmm, what could that be?).
Although promoted by a noble cause and pretty packaging, the chocolate itself parries its laudable ambition by not providing a matching gustatory thrust. It stumbles in its maneuvers, falling flat on its face, and to make matters worse eats a clump of soil in the meantime. Come on, Endangered Species, this bar need not be such a disaster, so please release this current butterfly embodiment and capture a new one with some pickier, more tasteful nets.