October 19, 2011

Friis Holm – Indio Rojo 70%

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Written by: Stuart Robson

The previous bars that we have seen under the Friis-Holm name have met with considerable praise. They have highlighted some quite unusual origins, been well made and with a clear emphasis on fine texture and refinement of character.  This new bar will draw attention as it shares its roots with the award winning  ’Honduras Indio Rojo 72’ from the U.K’s own Duffy Sheardown. I haven’t been completely sold on these Honduran beans yet but there is clearly intrinsic quality that, given that post harvest processes are sympathetic, will soon come to the fore.

Simply unwrapping this bar leaves little doubt as to the maker Friis-Holm is working with on these ‘own label’ bars. The mold, save for the name itself, is clearly that of Bonnat and the hallmarks of this well regarded maker are written well beyond the shape alone.  The colour is very attractive being medium brown and quite light with reddish highlights.  The finish is close to perfect also with a mirror shine, minimal swirling and a sharp, clean, high pitched snap.

The aroma comes across as notably subtle and with a certain creamy nuttiness. There are other notes on show here but they are delicate and fleeting; faint honey, a hint of undefined citrus and wood/leathery back-notes.  This isn’t an aroma that instantly draws you in but there is little to speak against it.

On the palette the flavours remain subtle but with a richly creamy undertone that adds considerable body to the mix. On delivery it is the almost oaken, woody notes that speak first before some light plum/yellow raisin and honeyed suggestions take over in the mid palette.  There is a slightly troublesome earthy, moss/mushroom note in the background but it remains faint throughout and fails to distract from what is essentially a creamy, deeply chocolately profile.  In the finish the tannins start to draw in alongside a little leather and a hint of walnut.  Texture, perhaps predictably considering the producer, is near flawless with a medium to fast paced melt and enviable smoothness.  I can’t help thinking however that this textural perfection has come at the loss of some intensity/character and that lower cocoa butter content and a less aggressive treatment might have helped to give a greater sense of the beans involved.

While I still believe we are yet to see the best from these Honduran Trinitarios this is clearly another well handled, highly enjoyable bar under the Friis-Holm label.  It is in keeping with the previous, Nicaraguan focused, releases and while  it certainly isn’t the most distinctive of bars the profile is well balanced and creamy with an emphasis on refinement that will please many a chocolate lover who perhaps isn’t in the mood for a Madagascan, citrus bomb.

About the Author

Stuart Robson
Stuart Robson is a passionate foodie born in Scotland and based in Hertfordshire whose main expertise lies in the world of whisky and chocolate. He first began tasting fine chocolate in 2005 with Valrhona Manjari and has since developed a particular interest in single origin bars and a desire to highlight skilled cacao farmers and artisan producers all over the world. Stuart previously trained in Paris while working for a fine chocolatier, and has since become a reviewer for Seventypercent. He is still involved in freelance consultation for small companies working with bean-to-bar chocolate producers and chocolatiers.



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