The Chocolate Tree – Madagascar Raw 70%

The Chocolate Tree – Madagascar Raw 70%

The Chocolate Tree ventures boldly into territory formerly almost the exclusive domain of Pacari with a raw chocolate that one has reason to believe may be classified as “fine”. It’s even more refreshing to see an exciting origin: Madagascar, whose bright fruitiness might indeed be shown to the fore in a raw interpretation. This will ..

The Chocolate Tree – Ecuador 82%

The Chocolate Tree – Ecuador 82%

Scotland joins the club of bean-to-bar countries with this (and other) chocolates from interesting micro-producer The Chocolate Tree in Edinburgh. This is a new experiment for a company previously involved in confectionery and who also sell other-branded bars in their shop. With such small production and so early on in the experiment, one expects inevitably ..

Friis-Holm – Chuno Double Turned

Friis-Holm – Chuno Double Turned

The other half of the Chuno pair from Friis-Holm, which plays the very interesting game of asking by way of practical experimentation what differences in fermentation might do. Like the Triple Turned, this explores an entirely new space in chocolate tasting and for similar reasons is one to try at least once, if not more. ..

Red Star Chocolate – Ocumare 72%

Red Star Chocolate – Ocumare 72%

After a long hiatus, during which Red Star was apparently tinkering with their process, Duffy returns with a revised Ocumare dark. A well-known but highly-reputed origin is an obvious place to start after process changes, and this one will suggest comparisons to their earlier version as well as to other bars in the field, even ..

Red Star – Ocumare 55%

Red Star – Ocumare 55%

Boldly introducing what other chocolate manufacturers seem to have shied away from, Red Star provides a truly elite-bean milk chocolate, and at gratifyingly high percentage. This is likely to mean extreme expectations, so the pressure is clearly upon Duffy to deliver with this chocolate. It’s a welcome sight, however, to see a chocolatier treating milk ..

Menakao – Dark Chocolate 72%

Menakao – Dark Chocolate 72%

Madagascar keeps on throwing up local chocolate manufacturers…with a reputation for inconsistency. Here we go with another one whose long-term results will have to be tested in time but who show that the Madagascans are determined to try to get it right. As usual the questions focus around the processing choices at manufacture; no one ..

Pacari Piura 70%

Pacari Piura 70%

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 ..

Pralus – Cuyagua

Pralus – Cuyagua

In the third of their “prestigious vintages” series, Pralus ventures into a bean/origin not so heavily promoted as Porcelana or Chuao: Cuyagua. Indeed, only one other specific instance of this origin has appeared in the past, so in many ways this is a completely new experience. With Pralus’ make-or-break style, the real question is whether ..

Pralus – Porcelana

Pralus – Porcelana

Pralus jumps onto the Porcelana bandwagon with another offering in what is becoming a crowded field. In many respects, it’s difficult to imagine what Pralus can bring to this party, given that Porcelana’s mild, retreating nature would seem to clash with Pralus’ assertive, robust style. However, at least one useful potential contribution is to serve ..

Domori – Guasare

Perhaps one of the most eagerly-awaited chocolates ever, Domori’s long-rumoured (seemingly forever!) Guasare finally arrives. Ever since Maricel Presilla’s original New Taste of Chocolate mentioned it, this bean has probably drawn higher expectations than any other save, perhaps, the original Porcelana. Thus the big question: Can Domori possibly live up to the hype (as they ..

Valrhona – El Pedregal

Valrhona – El Pedregal

New for 2011, a reincarnation of Valrhona’s earlier gift-box only Pedregal offering. Porcelana – a Venezuelan white-beaned criollo variety – is often considered to be the ‘champagne’ of cacao varieties. Sort after, rare and often imitated – many a white-beaned cacao is all too easily given the name. In reality, only a few genuine sources ..

Red Star Chocolate – Nicaragua Chuno

Red Star Chocolate – Nicaragua Chuno

Red Star introduces what is to be hoped is an alternative interpretation of the same source bean so ably transformed by Friis-Holm. Based on the boldness of the Friis-Holm version, we may expect this to be a good fit to the Red Star style. It’s clear that with such small origins, Red Star is making ..

Bojesen – Oialla

Bojesen – Oialla

Another attempt at wild cocoa similar to Felchlin’s ground-breaking Cru Sauvage, from what we must assume are similar origins. However, Bojesen leaves no doubt he is aiming at a higher standard still, which, given the superb product from Felchlin, is an ambitious target indeed. Whether this is pure Criollo is as usual a matter of ..

Friis Holm – Indio Rojo 70

Friis Holm – Indio Rojo 70

Chocolate made by Bonnat for Friis Holm, using Indio Rojo cacao from the Xoco Gourmet project in Honduras