Pump Street Bakery Venezuela Patanemo 75% 87.5/100

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Patanemo is a cacao growing region on the northern coast of Venezuela, a patch that contains the likes of Puerto Cabello, Ocumare and Cuyagua, but Patanemo still remains less well known than its surrounding neighbours. Even less well known is the small Suffolk coastal town of Orford where these beans are shipped to a bakery for processing into one of Pump Street’s single origin chocolate bars. A bakery may seem like a strange place to be producing chocolate bars, but if you’ve ever tasted their single origin Ecuadorian milk pain au chocolat, you’ll appreciate that Pump Street’s passion for and dedication to baking transfers just as well to chocolate making, as it does to producing wonderful baked goods.

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In terms of my expectations, I didn’t know what to expect from this bar, my knowledge of cacao from Patanemo is limited at best and so I had to rely on my general inclinations for northern coastal Venezuelan cacao. With that in mind, I expected that this was likely to be a refined, nutty and intensely chocolatey flavoured bar, but those expectations were limited and this bar was a lot more than that. The bar reminded me a little of really great mincemeat or Christmas cake, but as well as being rich and spicy this bar was soft, smooth and incredibly well balanced. It was a very easy bar to enjoy and was in no way intense or overwhelming at 75%, a great bar for those who struggle with higher percentages of cacao.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter.

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Dark brown
Texture: Soft and smooth with a little flake
Mould: Simple well portioned squares
Snap: Slight thud, but clean break
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, very consistent, very even and smooth

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Tobacco, pinewood, honey, sweet pollen, lemongrass
Quality: Sweet and refined, pleasant almost floral

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Slow soft Med/long
Evenness: Very even melt, consistent
Texture: Smooth single cream
Quality: Very consistent mouthfeel, fairly neutral, perfect base/backbone

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 2
Notes: Whiff of orange peel and lemongrass
Quality: Balanced, soft

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 6.5
Notes: Molasses, crème brulee top, caramel shortbread
Quality: Balanced

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet
Notes: Burnt Raisin, Gingerbread, biscuit, background lemongrass
Quality: Pleasurable, complementary, honest

Length 8.5/10

Medium length flavours, consistent length

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Crème Brulee top, molasses
Quality: Lingering dark sweet notes, flavours dissipate

Balance 9.5/10

Complementary flavours, consistently presented and well balanced, no volatility at all

Overall 8.5/10

Lots of depth, with well developed flavour, great structure and backbone, lacks complicated complexity and distinction

Pump Street’s Tasting Notes: Notes of grilled butter, gingerbread, and molasses. Medium roast with low acidity and a little bitterness.

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