From the northern coast of Venezuela, west of Caracas in the province of Carabobo, with its Parque Nacional Henri Pittier neighbours to the east, Puerto Cabello provides the shipping port for its neighbouring cacao farmers. After shipping to Gloucestershire via the stalwarts of Venezuelan cacao Casa Franceschi, Doble & Bignall take charge of turning these beans into their stylishly packaged chocolate bars. With husband and wife team Simon and Margie both having strong links to ecology and environmental practices, they’ve chosen to illustrate their packaging with various birds, with the birds designed to indicate the intensity of the chocolate bar inside. The Puerto Cabello as well as other 70ish% bars in their range is illustrated with the Raven, although it is worth pointing out interestingly that their Puerto Cabello is no longer from Venezuela and instead the Puerto Cabello cacao is grown in Panama.
Having tried some chocolate from around this region, I was expecting that this bar would follow the general trend of north coastal Venezuelan cacao, rich cocoa, caramel and nuts. Having not tried any chocolate from Doble & bignall before I wasn’t sure what else to expect, aware peripherally that they were a fairly new and small bean to bar producer I was interested to see how this would relate to the production qualities of the chocolate. Upon opening the bar a simple design revealed a crisp snap and while simple the aroma was a refined account of cocoa and complex sugars. What stood out though was the quality of the mouthfeel like a soft silky caramel, being small and new had clearly had no negative impact of the production qualities of this bar, great snap, quality tempering and wonderful mouthfeel were all evident here. The bar continued on revealing cocoa and caramel, but where I might have expected nuts there was soft and sweet citrus flavours to lift the bar. This isn’t what I would call an exciting bar, it’s not flashy or vibrant, but it is well developed and well produced, its rounded, rich and refined. For those that like the simple things done well than this is another bar for you.
Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar & cocoa butter
Colour: Lighter milky brown
Texture: Smooth, with a little flake
Mould: Alternately ridged simple squares
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte shine, very consistent, light swirling on reverse
Notes: Rich cocoa, milk, toffee, honeycomb, freshly cut grass
Quality: Simple, refined
Length: Medium/long soft
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Soft silky caramel
Quality: Refined, texturally pleasurable
Notes: Sweet orange, sweet lemon
Quality: Doesn’t stand out on its own, carries other attributes and flavours, complementary, rounded
Notes: Caramel, honeycomb
Notes: Honeycomb, caramel, cocoa, sweet and soft yellow/orange citrus
Cocoa and caramel carry the length, citrus and deep honeycomb flash in and out smoothly, nicely rounded
Notes: Citrus, cocoa
Quality: Citrus high before finish then into lingering cocoa caramel
Complementary flavours work well with each other, acidity carries the balance, consistent medium structure provides stability
Bar is well developed, with good depth and dimension carrying an honest expression. Bar lacks imperfection, but also distinctive character
Doble & Bignall’s Tasting Notes: Citrus, raisin and flowery notes with a lingering fruitiness.