September 25, 2012

Pacari – Piura 70%

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Written by: Alex Rast

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.

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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