Slitti is almost there, yet heâ€™s so far away. At 73%, the chocolate comes close to delivering a great flavor but succumbs to a few flaws that make the bar merely average. Overall, itâ€™s not a bad chocolate but just deficient in the qualities needed to make this blend work.
Alex Rast: 30-Jun-2007
Slitti’s clear wrappers put the chocolate on display right on the shelf – and it’s clearly quite good, a bit on the dark side of red-brown but with a shiny finish of superb temper and very little by way of moulding defects. If the appearance is good, the aroma is great, an outstanding mixture of floral and almond, with jasmine notes mixing with something grassy and calm. It’s an aroma sure to soothe and yet seduce simultaneously.
However, if the aroma was seductive and subtle, the flavour pushes subtlety perhaps a bit to far, to where it starts to dissolve into muted. The grass of the aroma emerges initially, and then earthy and cocoa notes come on – but the point here to be made is that these are all at low intensity. No fireworks here, and it’s too bad because after a seductive setup it’s nice to have some actual excitement. Hazelnut, something of a mirror for the almond, shows up in the finish, and on the whole the flavour isn’t bad, it just holds few surprises and remains passive.
Texture is commendable, with a superb crisp snap and smooth texture, although somehow it doesn’t have the effortless melt of a Cluizel or a Domori. Nothing to criticise, but nothing that stands out either. And this may just be the indictment of the bar: there’s not much to find fault with, but the flavour just never asserts itself with any vigour, and one is left asking for more. It’s a bar that shows that the divide between subtlety and excessive understatement is rather thin.
Hans-Peter Rot: 24-Jun-2007
Though ominously peering through the wrapper with a color that falls under the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“near blackĂ˘â‚¬Âť category, the chocolate still pleases with an immaculate finish that Slitti is so good at doing. The aroma, however, is not so agreeable, but rather cookie-cutter spicy with a humdrum addition of mild ash and coconut that fails to register as pleasurable. Something about this aroma just says, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“been there, done that.Ă˘â‚¬Âť
If there were any misgivings previously, the flavor compensates but only partly. The initial hit is coconut and fruit, raspberries in effect, and then the ashiness detected in the aroma becomes visible, but luckily itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s just a subtle presence, hanging low in the background. Picking up momentum, the length continues thusly with coconut in the foreground, while in the meantime snowballing its chocolatinessĂ˘â‚¬â€ťwhich is decent, not extraordinaryĂ˘â‚¬â€ťuntil suddenly the end turns dry and bitter, emphasizing the overall dryness of the texture which until now was not much of an issue. The cacao intensity meanwhile was not as strong as it needed to be, but just enough to contribute a modest backbone.
It seems, then, that a chocolate with a very average flavor and an abrupt shift to dryness and bitterness would rank poorly, but this is not entirely the case. Why? Basically, these misdemeanors are not as offensive as one might assume. Indeed, Gran Cacao 73% is actually easy to eat, enjoyable even, mainly because its off notes do not stick out like sore thumbs as they distastefully do in Gran Cacao 82%, and partly because the overall flavor is incredibly tolerable.
But as a whole, one must admit the chocolate remains flawed and rough around the edges. This particular blend doesnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t seem to work significantly well at a low percentage, so the bar as a whole comes off as washed out and deficient in the qualities that could make it great. Yet thereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s promise that perhaps in higher percentages (not the 82%), the meek character exposed here can be improved and delivered full throttle. But for right now, weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re stuck in the mud, spinning wheels.