Hotel Chocolat Supermilk 65% Nicaragua Chuno Region 87/100

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Mostly found in northern Nicaragua, Chuno varieties can also be found all over the cacao growing regions of Nicaragua. Once grown these beans ship to Rabot 1745 at Borough Market in London to be turned into one of their bean to bar chocolates.

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When I usually see dark milk bars, it appears to me to be an admittance that the cocoa doesn’t hold up under the scrutiny and honesty of being a high percentage dark chocolate bar, or that its earthy tones need tempering by the addition of milk. I’m biased because I prefer plain dark bars with no additives and so milk to me can feel like pandering or a softening of chocolate for more delicate palates. This bar however, is different, it’s as if this chocolate was intended to be a dark milk bar, that it is made more interesting for the addition of milk rather than made softer or more approachable. Yes there is the characteristic caramel tones in the sweetness as you’d expect from adding milk, but on top of those, there are some rather earthy savoury tones and if anything the bar kind of needs the caramel notes to remind you that this is chocolate. The flavours are reminiscent of the forest, herbs, mushrooms, even the sweetness tastes dark and earthy, which has this bar leaning towards a savoury feel, one where the flavours are developed and carry depth and dimension, so as to be interesting and exciting. I enjoyed this bar much more than I expected too, so much so that I might have to reconsider my opinions on dark milk bars.

Ingredients: Cocoa solids (cocoa mass, cocoa butter), sugar, full cream milk powder, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) (14% milk solids)

Appearance 8/10

Colour: Medium to light brown
Texture: Soft, creamy
Mould: Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 tablet mould
Snap: Soft, slightly woody
Temp/Shine: Shiny, good sheen, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Musk, smoke, orange/tangerine, dill, forest
Quality: Distinctive, lightly acidic

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Medium, long soft
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Smooth, creamy
Quality: Rich, rounded

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Tangerine, floral lemon
Quality: Uplifting, rounded

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Notes: Amber caramel, treacle
Quality: Developed, rich

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Bitter, sweet, salt
Notes: Earthy, cocoa, treacle, caramel, sage, dill, smoke, savoury umami flavours, salt, almost meaty roast mushroom
Quality: Distinctive, deep

Length 9/10

Flavours develop and change throughout the round, but remain long and bold

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Dark caramel, treacle, cocoa
Quality: Complexity dissipates on the finish leaving heavy treacle and cocoa tones that linger rich and dark

Balance 8/10

Bar is not overtly balanced, but elements are complementary, its nature is more robust than refined and so there are heavy footsteps of flavour, structure is strong and needs to be to hold bar together

Overall 8.5/10 Bar lacks some balance and complexity, but flavours have large depth and dimension, structure is uniform and expression is highly individual

 

Hotel Chocolat’s Tasting Notes: Underground club. Burnt caramel and olive notes lead you into intense flavours of cocoa and earthy mushroom with smoky savoury notes.

 

 

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