This is a real accomplishment not only for Plantations but also for milk chocolate in general. Arriba proves to be a perfect candidate for milk chocolate even at such a low percentage, as its flavor never wavers with its complexity or intensity. Impressive chocolate in the flavor department but an unfortunate disaster texture-wise.


Reviews

Alex Rast: 14-Feb-2006

Posted: February 14, 2006 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 6 5%
Taste: 8.5 35%
Melt: 2 5%
Length: 8.5 15%
Opinion: 9 30%
Total/100: 82 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate this review
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Finally, someone produces a milk chocolate with the Arriba bean. What made manufacturers wait this long? Here is a bean that practically screams for a milk chocolate interpretation, perfectly suited in character and strength to the soothing properties of milk. Predictably, the results are excellent. Unfortunately, you have to look beyond the texture because in an incomprehensible choice Plantations seems not just to have ignored this factor but deliberately gone out of its way to make it bad. At least we know what an Arriba milk chocolate would taste like.

Plantations has never been the best at visuals, and this one is unsettling, slightly mottled, dull in sheen, unevenly moulded. This looks like a chocolate bar frozen halfway through the manufacturing process – not exactly the most alluring presentation. Fortunately, the aroma more than makes up. At last we have a milk chocolate where creamy notes don’t prevail. This one has a powerful, cherry forward presence, over a dominant cocoa cast. Traces of coffee and coconut also appear, the coconut particularly surprising because it usually disappears under milk. The chocolate has already set itself apart.

The flavour really sets this milk chocolate apart. Just like the aroma, the initial flavour is very cherry, and then it reveals new potential, an ultrastrong hazelnut character showing through. In addition hints of mocha suggest the coffee the aroma promised, mixed with milk, yes, but not the aggressive creamy/caramel virtually all other milk chocolates seem to possess. The chocolate is also thankfully not too sweet, never becoming cloying or overly candylike. Everything about the flavour again sets this chocolate apart from other milk chocolates.

Disappointingly, the texture also sets it apart, in a negative sense. Indeed, in order to appreciate the flavour you have to be prepared to block out all appreciation of texture. It’s just abysmal, ultra-rough and grainy, dry and fudgy. Very few chocolates indeed could have a texture this bad, a worthless rendition that will ensure that anyone who values texture will recoil in disgust. It’s fortunate that the chocolate’s taste is able to make up for it, because any flaws and this chocolate would drop into the ranks of the unacceptable fast. In the hands of a more texture-oriented chocolatier this milk chocolate might be improved upon to be the best in the world (Hachez, are you listening? Flip-flop your beans in your origin chocolates and make a Maracaibo 77% and an Arriba 55.5% milk) In the end, this is a chocolate whose amazing and long-awaited flavour rises above all shortcomings.

Hans-Peter Rot: 17-Jan-2006

Posted: January 17, 2006 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 7.5 5%
Taste: 9.5 35%
Melt: 1 5%
Length: 7 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 82.5 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rate this review
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Given the crude appearance of Plantations’ dark bars, this one looks like an angel. Actually, it does manage to be quite eye-catching, starting with its smooth surface and almost lack of bubbling. Granted, there is some swirling and the finish is rather muddy, but the color is deep and dark, speaking boldly of its Arriba heritage. Aroma is simply stunning, a total pleasure to inhale, and perhaps a major obstacle to overcome if you wish to taste this. Without the slightest trace of milk as an actual scent, there’s a strong nutty tone overcast burnt coffee and mild floral notes. It’s almost hard to believe this is a milk chocolate.

Flavor doesn’t disappoint either, as the nuttiness from the aroma plants itself firmly and then a mild fruity acidity quickly materializes in no time but stays very much in the background. Meanwhile, the milk cannot be detected as an actual flavor, and the cocoa intensity is surprisingly strong, considering the 38% cocoa content. The sweetness is minimal as well, failing to overpower the fine flavor that runs rampant, which as a result produces a very well balanced milk chocolate. Continuing, floral notes appear and lead to strong coffee, then cinnamon, and finally the nuttiness strengthens to pull up the rear as the finish sets in.

Texture is this chocolate’s major downfall. It’s unbelievably abysmal, constantly grating the mouth with an unacceptable coarseness and grittiness that shouldn’t even be allowed in a Hershey’s bar. But as bizarre as this may sound, the texture is actually inconsequential since the superb flavor is what makes this an excellent chocolate overall.

This is a real accomplishment not only for Plantations but also for milk chocolate in general. Arriba proves to be a perfect candidate for milk chocolate even at such a low percentage, as its flavor never wavers with its complexity or intensity. This bar exhibits a perfect balance of cocoa, sugar, and milk by offering a poetic transition of flavors and tones that speaks soothingly and fluently, easing you throughout the length without any unwanted surprises and without one element dominating another. Indeed, the milk and sweetness of the sugar are kept at bay, allowing the Arriba bean center stage to deliver maximum flavor without distraction. However, Plantations is not perfect with its execution, as the texture is atrocious, reminding me of a clump of mud wrapped in sandpaper. Overall, it’s an impressive chocolate in the flavor department but an unfortunate disaster texture-wise.



About the Author

Seventy%