SAID Dal 1923 Arawak Venezuela 72% 84/100

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Hailing originally from Roma, Said Dal 1923 opened their second store in Broadwick Street in London where they sell a range of exciting and indulgent chocolate products, most notably their high percentage dark hot chocolate. Alongside the hot chocolate they also sell a range of single origin chocolate bars, here we have their Venezuelan offering Arawak, a blend of criollo and forastero cacao.

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Here we have another bar representing the flavour profile of Venezuelan cacao as a whole, rather than as a single growing region or estate. This leads me to expect some archetypal Venezuelan flavours, the core of which are commonly, rich cocoa, caramel and nuts. Upon opening the bar its clear we’re dealing with a bar with high production values, a particularly crisp snap, super smooth texture and some pretty professional tempering. The aroma begins as I suspected, caramels, nuts and some light citrus as a hint for later. To taste the bar is familiarly Venezuelan, with cocoa and nuts in the roasted flavours, alongside developed caramels, but alongside the citrus there are some white wine flavours in the mix, white grape, melon and butter. In the end this bar is well processed and the processing has refined the cacao without producing something which is flat, it is however, far from wild and reminds me of a playful child who has been presented in their Sunday best, the child is still playful, but presented in their neatest and most professional format. Flavour has been maintained here and the flavour in question has quality, but it’s not deep, powerful or playful, rather a light and sweet nature has it tending in the direction of elegance, just without quite reaching it.

Ingredients: Cocoa paste, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, vanilla

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Dark dusky brown
Texture: Super smooth
Mould: Full bar mould with SAID stamp
Snap: Very Crisp Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, very consistent, professional

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Notes: Sweet caramel roasted nuts, almonds, light citrus
Quality: Balanced, simple, pleasurable

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Soft, medium / long
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Gel, toffee fudge
Quality: Consistent, professionally manufactured

Acidity 7.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 3
Notes: Lemon rind, grapefruit, melon, white grape
Quality: Light, uplifting, slightly astringent

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Caramel, toffee, fudge
Quality: Well developed, buttery, rounded

Flavour 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet
Notes: Caramel, roast, melon, white grape
Quality: Simple, lightly metallic

Length 8.5/10

Flavours have a decent length and round off nicely, carrying a light sweetness throughout the course

Finish 8/10

Notes: Melon, honey/caramel, cocoa, fudge
Quality: Melon acidity disappears on the finish leaving a lightly sweet honey/caramel and cocoa fudge tones eeking themselves out, slight metallic edge

Balance 8.5/10

Flavours are complementary and held together by the structure of the roast, roasty backbone opens to light flavours that play well together

Overall 8/10

Bar has very little depth, but has some dimension, bar is light rather than empty, which is interesting given the darker roast, expression seems to be one of production methods using a quality blend of cacao, structure is consistent and balance is maintained.

SAID’s Tasting Notes: strong licorice aroma of grapes and chestnuts passes the use of cane sugar gives dark honey notes

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