June 16, 2008

Scharffen Berger – Antilles – review – Hans-Peter Rot

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Written by: Hans-Peter Rot

Scharffen Berger’s ninth bar in its Limited Series is a blend of four origins: Trinidad, Grenada, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. It looks fantastic atop its protective foil, radiant with a deep sierra color and magenta highlights. The aroma, at first sniff, is somewhat aloof and ordinary. It speaks of mild ash and coconut, but eventually sparkles with zesty raspberry and grapes, while jasmine lingers delicately in the back.

Ashy with coconut at first, then suddenly fruity and complex, the flavor shifts from bad to awesome in just seconds, easing gently into a sinuous, scattered theme. There’s a lot going on, such as melon, mango, and jasmine, but the dominant note is raspberries which gets darker and darker, eventually turning to plums towards the end with wood and pure cocoa closing things off. Texture, meanwhile, is smooth and glossy, melting without any effort and easing the somewhat rambunctious flavor along fluently.

In the wake of a so-so Cuyagua and an abject flop in their Kumasi Sambirano, Scharffen Berger returns to form with a marvelous, vibrant chocolate that has plenty of dark notes to keep things interesting. It’s a somewhat disorganized chocolate, though, its flavors whimsically thrown into the air and allowed to fall where chance dictated. It conveys a strong sense of the abstract, like capricious strokes from Jackson Pollack’s brush, so haphazard yet spectacular is its flavor distribution. But make no mistake, it all works well, unbelievably well, in fact, so stock up while you can.

About the Author

Hans-Peter Rot


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