Check this thread briefly:
Single origin is a rather broad term, which on the vaguest scale means that the beans are sourced from a single country. For example, Marcolini’s Venezuela bar is a single origin chocolate because the beans were sourced from Venezuela. But even within this country, huge differences exist between plantations and regions, so that a Carenero chocolate will taste different than a Maracaibo, and so on. And in the case of Marcolini, it is clear that he sourced the chocolate from Sur del Lago, and once you taste more single origins, you will be able to discern these differences as well. The path to enlightenment is fun, though, so don’t rush it! In my reviews, I try to put in as much information about this as I can because I want everyone to know what exactly defines an Arriba, for example, or how Chocolate A should taste this way instead of that…and so on.
Back to single origin. Each region has a specific flavor profile and characteristics that set it apart from the rest, but due to close proximity of some areas, there will be several similarities. For example, I found Felchlin’s Maracaibo to be remarkably similar to Carenero cacao, but given the fairly closeness of the two areas, it is fairly understandable…..fairly.
This single origin craze has been around for a while, at least since the 80s and maybe even sooner, but it has really flourished in the last decade or so. Yes, I think you can expect to see more origin chocolates because there’s so much untapped resources out there. Chocolates will taste different each year, like vintage wine, so even in this respect, there is still something new to look forward to, even in familiar chocolates.
Also, don’t get caught up on only the “best” chocolates either, because it is quite instructive and valuable to try the “bad” chocolates reviewed here as well. This will allow you to discern the differences between bad and good and what to look for in a chocolate overall. For example, a bad Arriba can be an utterly disgusting experience, yet the finer interpretations can be sheer bliss. In other words, just because it’s single origin doesn’t mean it’s good. Case in point: Plantations 90% vs. Slitti 90%. Two Arribas, the former being a disaster, while the latter being divine.
And to address your Hershey’s comment, they actually bought Scharffen Berger…I don’t know if you’re aware. And they’re (Hershey’s) supposedly going to release a new 60% bar (with safe ingredients, i.e. real vanilla, no milk solids). I tried this at the Fancy Food Show this past July, and it was surprisingly good and strong for what it is. Look out for it in the near future.