Pump Street Bakery Venezuela 72% Casa Franceschi Carenero Superior 2013 86.5/100

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Named after the northern port town from which they ship, Carenero beans are grown in the Miranda province of Venezuela. Before shipping from Carenero they grow a little further south in Barlovento, well at least usually they do, except in this case these beans are grown at Casa Franceschi. Once shipped from Venezuela they arrive in the small Suffolk coastal town of Orford, to a bakery for processing into one of Pump Street’s single origin chocolate bars. A bakery may seem like a strange place to be producing chocolate bars, but if you’ve ever tasted their single origin Ecuadorian milk pain au chocolat, you’ll appreciate that Pump Street’s passion for and dedication to baking transfers just as well to chocolate making, as it does to producing wonderful baked goods.

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I’ve tried a few Carenero bars now and they do tend to be fruitier versions of the other north coastal Venezuelan varieties. This however is a varietal grown at Casa Franceschi and I’ve noticed just from trying Domori’s range, that the varietals from Casa Franceschi taste somewhat different from those grown at their namesake, not better or worse, just different. So I would expect some tropical fruit maybe or at least some fruity acidity, but given that I’m expecting it to be a slightly different take on a Carenero, one from a slightly different terroir I’m not overly sure. Upon opening the bar there’s a distinctive aroma of sweet spices and stonefruit, which holds some similarities to other Careneros, but it’s more spicy than it is bright. To taste there’s some fruit and some acidity there, but the flavours have a spicier tone with distinctly tannic qualities. There are definitely parallels here with Pump Street’s Patanemo bar, there’s a decent degree of similarity, although terroir is clearly distinguishable. This bar reminds me more of Christmas cake or mince pies and red wine, rich, spiced and aged. It is slightly astringent towards the end, but the kind of astringent I’ve come to expect from aged products like red wine, a tannic sort of astringency, as if it were intentional rather than accidental, it unusually adds an air of maturity, instead of ruining the flavour it just happens to be a part of it. While distinctive and rich it still has some slightly rough edges, as if it were distinguished but brooding and needs some additional roundedness to take it that step further. This bar is likely to go down well with fans of tea, peat whiskies and tannic wines.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar & cocoa butter

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium/dark brown light purpling
Texture: Smooth, soft
Mould: 4×4 simple well portioned squares
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Clove, pomegranate molasses, all spice, cherry, peach
Quality: Distinct, clean, little faint

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long, hard
Evenness: Pretty even
Texture: Creamy, slippery
Quality: Full, malleable, little astringent

Acidity 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Mango, nectarine, grapefruit
Quality: Uplifting, little quiet in the round, little astringent

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Demerera sugar, caramel shortbread, toffee
Quality: Uplifting, developed

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Bitter, sweet
Notes: Rich intense cocoa, all spice, burnt raisin, tannic red wine, mincemeat, milk
Quality: Distinctive

Length 9/10

Long, flavours stretch at a medium intensity for long periods developing over their course

Finish 9/10

Notes: Cocoa, red grape skin, tannins, smokey peat
Quality: Finish is really long and has a cocoa base, mild tannic astringency lingers alongside with a spiced green smokeyness. Somewhat whiskey like

Balance 8.5/10

Bar switches between rich and tannic, most elements smooth out in the middle, but the acidity struggles to keep pace and stay balanced, strong structure helps to pull the bar together

Overall 8.5/10 Bar has degrees of complexity and depth, it shows good development and has consistent structure, but lacks harmony and well roundedness


Pump Street Bakery’s Tasting Notes:
A distinguished, rich, dark chocolate with a marked blackcurrant high note and a long finish of grape skin, tobacco and lovage.

 

 

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