July 1, 2012

Domori – Guasare

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Written by: Alex Rast

With a bean now approaching the near-mythical, we finally have solid fact in the form of Domori’s Guasare, and pleasantly, just as they did with the Porcelana, Domori comes up with a winner. Not a bar that will amaze with wildly new or exotic flavours, but one rather that demonstrates how much classical balance can be achieved with a single origin, it’s a chocolate that feels more like a reference benchmark than a mould-breaking sensation. Reserved and refined, here is a chocolate suitable for a serious formal occasion.

Unsurprisingly, the light colour of the bar out of the wrapper shows the Criollo genotype in the bean (although could it be somewhat darker than the Porcelana?) and also unsurprisingly Domori does a good job with moulding and finish, only some slight swirling and a few pinpoint bubbles to notice. Aroma is rather dark, darker certainly than Domori’s historical pattern, though possibly consistent with the new process they have adopted (which in this reviewer’s opinion is a mistake; see a recent series of reviews for more comment). Notes of clove and molasses dominate initially, and then follows coffee with hints of blackberry and currant. One might almost think Pralus here. A hint of rubber does prevent the aroma from reaching completely unblemished status but it must be said that it’s better and bolder than many previous Domori chocolates.

The flavour is a study in pure balance. It starts out on a fruity note of raspberry, then an obvious, classic Criollo creaminess takes over before transitioning into vanilla and almond with hints of tropical fruits. It’s as if Domori blended Porcelana and Puertomar; could we be unravelling the genetic origins of the Guasare (or vice versa)? However what is most extraordinary is the complete lack of any bitterness whatsoever, even less bitter than Porcelana, it is proof that bitterness simply isn’t absolutely inherent in chocolate. If there is a weakness, its that somehow it doesn’t quite have the liveliness of previous Domori chocolates, and here the process is to be suspected.

They have clearly not changed the grinding and finishing process, however, the bar remains as ever for Domori almost impossibly smooth and creamy. It’s a chocolate close to perfection. Only the new process casts some doubt. What would this have been like under Domori’s original process, which produced such an extraordinary Porcelana? Perhaps Domori will realign their process again and we will find out. And how, indeed, does it compare to their flagship Porcelana? The truth: it’s a great bar, but particularly the original Porcelana was greater still. Which is perhaps, as it should be; Domori now has a Number 2 bar to go alongside their flagship.

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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