A possible first for a growing country chocolate maker, Pacari release their first bar made with cacao from outside their home country of Ecuador. Piura is fast becoming famous as an origin for its white-beaned local cacao in the north or Peru and here Pacari take a giant leap forward as they begin to widen their origin palette.


Alex Rast: 25-Sep-2012

Posted: September 25, 2012 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 7.5 5%
Taste: 8.5 35%
Melt: 6 5%
Length: 9.5 15%
Opinion: 8 30%
Total/100: 83.75 100%
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Probably the purest Piura yet. While undoubtedly a fine bar, it still doesn’t really “wow”. Instead, it brings very unusual flavours that make it more of an interesting bar than a great bar. It’s probably fair to say, though, that Pacari has done about the best job possible with the origin, so any failings are more a matter of the ultimate potential of the bean itself than of the interpretation.

From the moment this bar is out of the wrapper, it can’t be mistaken, with its colour so light it could easily be a middle-strength milk bar. Pacari hasn’t produced an immaculate finish here; the bar does look a bit rustic in overall appearance, but it will still produce more admiring glances than it will frowns. The aroma is certainly more powerful than the colour would suggest, and with a definitely spicy character, cinnamon and cedar with wine, so that it’s almost like a mulled wine overall. Hints of earthy and coffee strike a heavier note, but hints of strawberry also give a lighter note as well, so that the indications are that this should have a very balanced flavour indeed.

The flavour itself, however, is a bit of a disappointment, if also a total surprise. First comes a totally overwhelming note of crème fraîche, rather reminiscent of older Domoris but slightly flatter.A brief raisin hint has more depth and then the flavour becomes more pungent, cedar and cinnamon more in tune with the aroma. A more tannic woody finish is disturbing, however, the length of the flavour is completely extraordinary, especially given the start, continuing to manifest a fruity wood like old wine barrels.

The melt is somewhat problematic, for although there’s nothing wrong with the smooth particle size, its drier than one might like and as a result reluctant to melt completely; here is a bar that could really do with more cocoa butter. That, however, is the only true technical flaw in what is otherwise a very nice chocolate. Taken as a whole this bar will probably appeal strongly to those looking for something new and very different in chocolate, and those who place a high value on originality. For the classicist, however, it will represent a bit too much of a surprise to be great; like a Mondrian compared to a Raphael. What Piura really might be is the ultimate in concept chocolate.

George Gensler: 24-Jul-2012

Posted: July 24, 2012 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 9 5%
Taste: 9 35%
Melt: 8.5 5%
Length: 8.5 15%
Opinion: 9.5 30%
Total/100: 90.00 100%
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Source: Sample direct from maker
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Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Before the taste:  This is Pacari’s newest bar.  Though it is not yet available to purchase, it was “launched” during the Peru Chocolate and Cacao Salon in Lima, at a tasting held at the Huaca Pucllana restaurant, where it was fashioned into incredible concoctions by the Huaca Pucllana chefs and Damian Allsop, one of England’s best chocolatiers.  The boxes haven’t yet been made, so the only packaging I have is the inner foil wrap.  This is a new wrapper for Pacari, with a beautifully-stylized cacao pod under the Pacari name and logo.  It is scored at the top right and left, but, unfortunately, the scoring draws the tear down the bar, instead of across it, making it difficult to open.

The beans are from a small farm in the Piura region.  The beans are white, giving the resulting chocolate a paleness that looks like milk chocolate, though it has no milk.  There is a rawness to the odor – a pungent greenness, with a slight hint of melon, that smells of a freshly-halved cacao pod.  The bar itself is smooth and satiny with a denseness that leaves no room for bubbles or flakiness.

Getting to the heart of it:  There is a nice snap to the chocolate, which shouldn’t be surprising in a Pacari bar but, somehow, is, because of the paleness.  The bar is creamy and smooth, with just a slight stickiness that is pleasant, rather than cloying.  The opening note is sharp, evoking, again, a rawness, though this is not a raw bar.  There are notes of dried fruit, raw cocoa beans, citrus and, towards the end, nuts, all tumbling over each other on a wave of chocolate flavor that persists throughout and for a while after the other notes have faded.  There is astringency in the finish, which builds with each bite, and a slight burning in the back of the throat.

Overall:  This is my new favorite Pacari bar (edging out the Raw 70% by a slim margin – rankings will get even tighter when Pacari’s Nube comes out).  The complexity of flavors and the smooth texture are the best of both worlds, for me.  It was a little sweet for me, but overall, I enjoyed it every much.  I look forward to the launch of the bar, so I can stock my chocolate cupboard!

About the Author

George Gensler
George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She spent her early years traveling the world with her siblings and parents, who also instilled in her a love of - and appreciation for - travel and chocolate. She continues to take every opportunity for travel that comes her way, from visiting friends and family to destination races and chocolate hunts. She has eaten chocolate on all seven continents and is working her way around them again. George and a small group of like-minded friends formed the Manhattan Chocolate Society in 2007. The Manhattan Chocolate Society holds focused tastings, mostly of bean-to-bar chocolates, and has worked with several chocolate makers to refine their product.