Marie Belle Venezuelan Maracaibo 65% 76/100

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Maracaibo is located close to Venezuela’s western border, on the north western shoreline of Lago de Maracaibo in the province of Zulia. With close varietal neighbours in Sur Del Lago and the famed Porcelana, it is located in an area renowned for high quality cacao production. Once grown these beans are shipped to Brooklyn, New York where they are processed in MarieBelle’s chocolate factory, originally from Honduras, Maribel Lieberman started out in New York and eventually expanded her businesses by opening shops in Kyoto. 

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I’ve tried cacao from Sur Del Lago before and this made up most of my expectations for this bar. I was aware that both used to be under the same designation once upon a time and so I didn’t expect they could be that different. Known more for their chocolates at MarieBelle than the chocolate bars they produce, I had some suspicions that this bar might be playing it a little safe in terms of its expression and that it might have been produced for a simpler palate. On opening the bar I did get some of what I had expected, the aromas did remind me of Sur Del Lago, that intense and earthy cocoa with some plum characteristics. To taste were plenty more dark flavours with some interesting orange blossom, which I hadn’t expected and was probably the highlight of the bar. The problem I mainly had with this bar was its lack of refinement and this slight synthetic nature it had to both the flavours and the sweetness. Overall this bar wasn’t bad it just needed greater development and greater appreciation for the individualities in origin.

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, whole milk, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin

Appearance 8/10

Colour: Medium dark brown
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Flat plain square
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, consistent

Aroma 7.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Notes: Intense cocoa, plum, cinder toffee
Quality: Dark, intense

Melt/Mouthfeel 7.5/10

Length: Medium
Evenness: Consistent, but a little uneven, flexible
Texture: Syrupy, milk
Quality: Tactile

Acidity 7.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Plum, orange blossom
Quality: Provides balance

Sweetness 7/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Sweetened condensed milk
Quality: Dominant

Flavour 7.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet, Bitter
Notes: Orange blossom, milk, bitter roast coffee
Quality: little synthetic

Length 7.5/10

Flavours are long but don’t round off at the end

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Milk
Quality: Cocoa notes stay a little after the finish as milk fades

Balance 8/10

Sweetness is a little dominant, but majority of the bar is in balance and complements itself, medium structure is consistent

Overall 7/10

Flavours lack refinement, bar is fairly simple with some depth of flavour, balance is maintained and structure is uniform

Tasting Notes: With Arabica roasted ground coffee beans, this well balanced chocolate is enhanced by coffee and plum aromas with an undercurrent of orange blossom and cinnamon.

 

 

 

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