January 3, 2012

Pacari – Raw Chocolate 70%

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Written by: Alex Rast

An absolutely splendid batch that confirms that in the world of raw chocolate, there is Pacari, and then there are the hoi polloi. Still the only fine raw chocolate in the word, and a particularly fine one this time, demonstrating again that raw chocolate can be as good as “ordinary” chocolates.

As one might expect, the colour is very light indeed, certainly relative to roasted chocolates, and while Pacari has always been a little less than obsessive about appearance, this one doesn’t look overly distorted – and certainly there aren’t any marks of real trouble in tempering and moulding. Aroma is actually surprisingly dark, hinting at blackberries and brown sugar in the way a “typical” Ecuadorian chocolate might. However an utter contrast of citrus and vinegar is entirely unlike typical Ecuadorean chocolates – and shows what we might be missing, other than here. A few woody traces also demonstrate what raw chocolate leaves in, namely the tannins that can make a chocolate great or simply bitter.

Flavour is like an explosion in a fruit-packing factory, with raspberries and redcurrants competing for attention. However, a subtle creamy modulation prevents the chocolate from just becoming sour, and indeed the flavour flows convincingly towards the sort of smooth, earthy coffee notes one might expect of a roasted bar. Can this really all be coming from raw chocolate?

Texturally the bar is good, although it doesn’t rank with the best of the European manufacturers. But with chocolate this good, those differences seem neither here nor there. This is a demonstration of definitive fermenting and conching techniques at their ultimate, and makes a case for the idea that roasting is perhaps an utterly superfluous step.

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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