Guasare is an area in the north western corner of Venezuela, slightly north west of Lake Maracaibo, known historically for growing cacao. It had until recently been in decline as a cacao producing area, which led to Domori sourcing some rare strains of criollo cacao from Guasare (seen as an ancient strain of criollo) in order to grow them at Hacienda San Jose. Criollo cacao is rare to begin with and this is a rare strain of criollo, which has given rise to the significant degree of hype surrounding this cacao. More recently though we have seen barsmiths like Ara Chocolat release trinitario Guasare bars, as we begin to see a resurgence in the area for growing cacao. Beyond the bar itself, this is more about Domori’s desire and passion to preserve rare strains of cacao and bring them back to the chocolate bar market, without the investment in Hacienda San Jose in 2002 and their mission to grow and cultivate criollo cacao I might not be in a position to find out what Guasare criollo tastes like.
My expectations for this bar are based on my experience with criollo bars and my expectations of their flavours. While I’ve never tried Guasare before I’m having to assume refined chocolatey flavours to be at the heart of the experience, as well as the soft almost milk like absence of bitterness I’ve come to associate with the likes of Chuao and Porcelana. In terms of secondary flavours I would expect to taste some nuts along with caramel, so long as the bar is developed sufficiently. What is likely to make this bar stand out amongst its competitors, is its complex and elegant balance, it is what the best criollos are famous for. On having tasted the bar I was impressed with the intensity and distinctiveness of the chocolate flavour, how much it reminded me of an idea of pure chocolate, where I was confused however, was in my expectation of elegance. The bar was deep and intense without being earthy or unrefined in flavour, but it terms of its balance and tone it was more heavy footed than elegant, it was more indulgent than floaty and reminded me of fudgey chocolate brownies rather than almond tuiles.
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar
Colour: Medium dark musky brown
Texture: Very smooth, soft a little grainy
Mould: Traditional 4 piece Domori mould, consistent
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, very consistent
Notes: Deep chocolate, little like dairy milk!?, soft white floral, lemony citrus
Quality: Smells rich and intense of honest chocolate
Length: Long, hard to soft
Evenness: slow beginning, even finish
Texture: Big, creamy, fudgey chocolate brownie, toffee
Quality: Indulgent, full
Notes: Cooked preserved lemon, dried mulberries
Quality: Sharpens the flavour, complementary rather than balanced, most in the finish
Notes: Caramel, toffee, apricot jam
Quality: Sweetens toward the finish, well developed
Notes: Caramel, intense robust chocolate, macadamia, fudgey brownie, toffee, sacher torte
Quality: Deep flavour, ultimately chocolatey
Big long flavours that develop over the course of the melt, robust and intense.
Notes: Dried Mulberries, fudgey brownie
Quality: Acidity leaves cleanly, intense chocolate lingers, pleasant
Complementary flavours, a little inconsistent and uneven in places, a med/light structure topped with bold flavour
This bar has depth of flavour and is well developed, it lacks complicated complexity and while the flavour is refined the bar is more intense than refined
Domori’s Tasting Notes: The father of all Criollos. It is an ancient cacao with notes of white flowers, toffee, cream and extraordinary elegance.