Chocolate Tree Chuao 72% 87.5/100

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Formerly the exclusive purchasing right of Amedei, Chuao has been open to other bean to bar producers for a while now. While Domori’s Chuao is grown at Hacienda San Jose, this bar is from the Chuao growing region on the northern coast of Venezeula, part of the Parque Nacional Henri Pittier. Chuao these days is best described as both a variety and a village with some pods having left the village to be produced elsewhere in Venezuela. This cacao comes with a reputation for having won a glutton of awards and so bar makers run a risk with these beans of not living up to their reputation. This particular bar was part of a limited run from Chocolate Tree who only produced 50 bars for sale from a limited 5kg batch of beans, fortunately I was lucky enough to get my hands on one.

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I’ve tried a few bars from Chuao now and the more bars I try the more diverse the flavours get, it appears that this delicate and volatile cacao requires an impression of the chocolatier’s style to be placed upon it, so that it can be developed into their own finished chocolate bar. My expectations for this bar were that it should still be of a refined and light nature with expressions of red and purple fruit, this after all is a cacao renowned for its balance and refinement, while retaining a distinct flavour due to the isolation of its genetics. Upon trying the bar there was both the new and the expected, there was rich cocoa aromas with raspberries and a balsamic acidulous nature, which was definitely in line with my expectations. What came next though was more new than expected, in place of the red and purple fruit, instead came sweet and effervescent pink fruit, with raspberries and cherries in amongst sparkling pink beverages, wild in nature it was particularly distinctive and developed. The problems this bar had were more in the direction of production than in development, with its wild and raw nature overtaking its balance and roundedness. To be clear though I really enjoyed this bar far more than its scoring, if you are going to do a limited run with a limited batch of cacao beans it’s important to nail down flavour and this bar certainly did that. This was a bar of great possibilities more than it was an exhibition of perfection over time and were Chocolate Tree to do another run I wouldn’t hesitate in buying another bar and I’d be excited to do so.

Ingredients: Cacao beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker brown
Texture: Smooth sandblasted sandstone
Mould: Chocolate Tree flower print uneven blocks
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Rich cocoa, raspberry, touch of balsamic
Quality: Distinctive

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long, soft
Evenness: Even
Texture: Light oiliness, juicy
Quality: Pleasurable

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Raspberry, cranberry
Quality: Bright, little tart, effervescent

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Cherry cola, ripe fruit, pink lemonade
Quality: Lively, uplifting

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet, sour
Notes: Cherry, cranberry, raspberry, pink champagne, pink lady apple, touch of balsamic
Quality: Wild character, refreshing

Length 8.5/10

Flavours are bold and lengthy, but could do with a little more roundedness

Finish 9/10

Notes: Pink champagne, raspberries, caramel cocoa tones
Quality: Pink champagne peaks before the finish where raspberries linger until they reveal some long caramel cocoa tones that stay on long after the finish

Balance 8/10

Lots of the bar is complementary, but the bars playful and wild nature steps away from balance and refinement, medium to strong structure provides necessary stability throughout

Overall 9/10

Flavour has depth and a good degree of dimension, structure is uniform and expression is definitely individual, but is a little wild or raw, bar is developed but not necessarily controlled

 
Chocolate Tree’s Tasting Notes: A complex fruity dark chocolate.

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