Rio Caribe is grown in the north east of Venezuela from in and around a small fishing town to the east of Carupano, the larger and former designation town. Having been rebranded as Rio Caribe after Carupano fell out of favour due to its trinitario heritage, owing to its proximity to Trinidad and Tobago, when compared with its western criollo competition, Rio Caribe has now found favour again in chocolate circles. Once harvested the Rio Caribe cacao then makes its way to Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé’s workshop in Budapest, Hungary having been supplied by the infamous Cacao San Jose, residence of the Franceschi brothers, one of only two suppliers that Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé use.
This is the second Rio Caribe that I’ve tried, having tried the Willie’s cacao version previously, from what I remember it wasn’t particularly fruity or acidic, which I found a little strange with it being a trinitario variety. In terms of Rio Caribe’s characteristics I remembered them being closer to north coastal Venezuelan criollos, fine cocoa, caramel and nuts. With this bar I wasn’t necessarily sure what to expect, it didn’t help that this was the first bar by Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé I was about to try either, but their chocolate looked really nice and so I was hoping the flavour would match up with the quality of the packaging and the moulding, which are some of the best I’ve seen. Upon opening the bar I was impressed to find a perfumed aroma of rich cocoa, with citrus and grassy notes and to be fair the bar continued much in this vein. Not a particularly complex bar this chocolate stuck to a few key flavours and displayed them with refinement, on top of rich cocoa were refined citrus and grassy notes that came out as grapefruit, Sicilian lemons and bay. This bar was a great all rounder with good cacao being produced well, it was very consistent and attention to detail seemed to have been paid to all criteria of the bar. This was an example of a bar that does a few things well rather than try to be lots of things it’s not.
Ingredients: Cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter
Colour: Medium brown, soft, milky
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé intricate flower mould
Notes: Rich cocoa, bay, grapefruit, cigar
Quality: Honest, rich, perfumed
Length: Long, soft
Evenness: pretty consistent
Texture: Glossy, dry
Quality: Rich and luxurious, light astringency
Notes: Grapefruit, Sicilian lemon
Quality: Smooth, subtle, bitter
Notes: Light caramel, cane juice, lemon juice
Type: Bitter, sweet
Notes: Rich cocoa, grapefruit, lemon juice, bay
Flavours are subtle and refined, but lengthy, always there, just on a low volume
Notes: Bay, lemon
Quality: Sweet notes peak before fading leaving light citrus and cocoa, drying astringency in the channels of the mouth feels somewhat refined, like high quality bitter lemons
Acidic bitterness stands out amongst the other attributes, but still feels in balance, all parts are complementary, strong structure keeps the bar consistent
Bar feels well developed and expression is honest, green and astringent notes feel part of terroir and not from underdevelopment, flavours are light but have great dimension and structure is consistent
Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé’s Tasting Notes: A trinitario collected around the fishing town Rio Caribe on the peninsula of Paria, northeast of Venezuela with a good proportion of fermentation. Through careful roasting and processing, we attempted to reserve as much of the bean’s own , tobacco and fresh-cut plant aroma as possible.