October 30, 2011

Bojesen – Oialla

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Written by: Alex Rast

Is this the most obsessive chocolate ever made? Bojesen seems to have gone to every length to find the best sources, the most organic products, the highest quality throughout. It’s got great potential, to be sure, and for a first effort this is a terrific result. Still, there’s room for improvement; in this first batch the aroma seems to have been perfected but the flavour has a few rough edges at the end. While this shouldn’t detract from a top-notch chocolate, it does show that where much is expected, much should be achieved, and that we can expect even more in future, at least if Bojesen’s obsessive passion continues undiminished.

From packaging clearly designed to appeal to an elite audience emerges a chocolate with a darker colour than one might initially be given to expect. Finish, while excellent, is difficult to evaluate given the smallish, awkward presentation in 5g squares; a format favoured also initially by Amedei and Domori before being sensibly abandoned in favour of more realistic 50g bars. However these are small quibbles entirely washed away by a superb aroma, one of the best ever. It starts out with an incredible strawberry/raisin fruitiness (just how did he achieve that?), then proceeds to hazelnut with chocolatey notes. This is the classic signature of Porcelana, and indeed lends support to the Criollo label here. Additional hints of grass and vanilla provide further light contrasts to what is one of the most sophisticated, subtle aromas ever to emerge from a chocolate.

The flavour can’t quite live up to the build-up. It starts out mostly on a chocolatey note, mixed initially with a drier, cocoa hint, then later with more interesting spicy, cinnamon characteristics. Finish, though, veers towards the dark and smoky, with tannic woody elements. All of this makes for a great basic flavour but one somehow missing the extraordinary subtlety of the aroma.

Melt can’t be faulted, super-smooth and very creamy and on the whole the bar gives little to criticise. The only problem is that it is in effect a great basic chocolate, and with this kind of build-up we might hope for something more. If Bojesen could capture the same profile in the flavour as in the aroma, it would be a fantastic chocolate indeed. What seems to be indicated is perhaps a slightly lighter roast and shorter conche. This would likely make the aroma more pungent, but with an effect of magnifying the sensations in the flavour, where it really counts. Sometimes you need to sacrifice perfection in one area to achieve it in a more important one – this may be one such case. An excellent chocolate to be sure, but one that with a bit of work can make the leap from excellent to great.

About the Author

Alex Rast
Alex Rast is a long-time chocolate experimenter, taster and part-time consultant to chocolate companies. Starting in 1990 with early experiments himself in making chocolate, he quickly moved into evaluating chocolates in commercial production and assisting other companies in improving process. Over the course of many years he has evaluated over 700 distinct chocolate bars. He is one of the earliest reviewers for SeventyPercent and has helped to define and systematise the ratings system. In addition to bar chocolate, he also experiments with chocolate baking and the formulation of "canonical" recipes for classic chocolate items.



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