Starting with an already limited origin (Sao Tome), the bar barely manages to deliver any flavor at all and opts instead for a persona that echoes weariness with every second. What Kshocolat did to achieve this monotonous feat could have been Dutching, but if not, the company certainly would have to address other questions to explain this mess.
Alex Rast: 11-Nov-2007
Image is obviously central to Kshocolat, and their bar makes no immediate mistakes on the visual front, although its moulding appears to be a carbon copy of Valrhona’s. It doesn’t quite have the perfection of a Valrhona finish but there’s little to quibble over except perhaps a darkish colour, readily explainable buy the source of the beans, and perhaps some evidence of flecking.
Things stay pretty optimistic with the aroma, starting out with a nice blackberrry fruitiness mixed with sharp currant, but modulated with softer vanilla. Hints of vinegar and earth suggest Kshocolat may be going for a balanced approach and it appears at this point that they’re going to be successful.
But no, the taste results demonstrate that in fact they are not successful. Everything goes wrong at once, the initial flavour being very earthy, then progressing to watery, insipid grape, finally flattening into earthy and coconut. But what is the death knell is the stunning lack of intensity: it’s as if the chocolate is 100 years old. There’s just no flavour here and one is left to wonder how they call it “”reserve”", when it seems so singularly lacking in character.
Adding insult to injury, the texture is abysmal, rough, coarse and dry. It’s as if the bar suffered complete loss of temper, and this would be the inevitable conclusion were not the appearance obviously immaculate. This is chocolate that seems quite literally to be “”eye candy”" – pretty wrappers, pretty bars, but no substance, something better looked at than eaten.
Hans-Peter Rot: 8-Nov-2007
In the wrapper sits a bar molded with apparently Valrhona in mind since the scoring and mold are identical in form. Sheen is also immaculate like a Valrhona bar, but where this bar diverges is an awkward and haphazard molding job, showing undulations and rounded edges all over, suggesting haste and/or carelessness. The aroma, too, is different than Valrhona, consisting primarily of vanilla in the fore, then a funky mustiness and ash notes underneath that compete with coconut and strawberries at equal strengths. It truly is an odd scent that for now leaves mixed impressions.
Curiously, the first taste is a duo of cherry cordial and peat, a surprising and highly eccentric opener that quickly settles into strong vanilla and mild Dutched cocoa for the remainder of the length, with a decent chocolaty presence presumably because of the origin: Sao Tome. Continuing under the presumption of unfavorable genetics, questionable processing, and/or poor sourcing the chocolate offers only a slight bitterness that for a bar of such narrow flavor sticks out like a sore thumb and completes a package that is inexcusably nondescript and disreputable to an origin that as of late has been performing remarkably well.
Texture is very smooth, creamy, and quick to dissolve, which considering the lackluster flavor should be perceived as a positive. Made with Sao Tome cacao, this bar is the sorriest thing to ever come from this country. Indeed, this is a bar that unlike the competition is not worth trying since in terms of flavor, nothing of interest exists and what does surface is only fleeting, creating a chocolate that falls dead on the tongue and unable to inspire further visitation. A remarkably soothing bar, though, the flavor is non-challenging, to be sure, but in an origin that is already quite limited, this is not exactly a good thing.