Chocolat Bonnat Cacao Real Del Xoconuzco Mexico 75% 90.5/100

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From the most southerly of the Mexican states, Chiapas, this ancient cacao shares its lands with ancient Mayan structures and the timeless rainforest. To call this ancient may be overstepping, but this is a classical cacao, having been grown throughout history for its high quality and notable prestige. One of the first prized cacaos it was shipped to Spain and the rest of Europe due to its reputation amongst the native elite. Difficult to grow with weaknesses to both pest and disease this cacao has been revived and shipped to France to be processed under the care and skill of Chocolat Bonnat.

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If I’ve noticed anyting about the ‘noble’ strains of cacao it’s that there is a noticeable lack of bitterness that has been prized above all else. No doubt due to the absence of sugar in more traditional chocolate recipes, these ‘noble’ cacaos tend to have a sweetness of their own mixed with refined cocoa notes. Here I’m expecting something similar, although I’m not overly sure what to expect from a Mexican terroir. Opening the bar  it’s clear that as per usual were dealing with the high production values I’ve come to expect from Bonnat, with a lightly floral and citrusy cocoa aroma. To taste this bar isn’t particularly overwhelming, but it is well crafted, with a luxuriously creamy mouthfeel and a particularly well developed sweetness. Underlying complexity and a somewhat rigid balance encourage the refined qualities of this chocolate, even if it does feel a little restrained. For those who like fine chocolate without much acidity then this is a classy criollo bar, just don’t expect to be overly excited or surprised by the soft, delicate and refined flavours.

Ingredients: Cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Light milky brown
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Bonnat Voiron centre with 6×5 fingers
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Rich cocoa, lightly floral, violets, mandarin, elderflower
Quality: Sweet

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Smooth, creamy
Quality: Refined, rich

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Elderflower, mandarin
Quality: Balance, refined, rounded

Sweetness 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Notes: Wildflower honey, dessert cream
Quality: Rounded, uplifting

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet
Notes: Refined cocoa, soft mandarin, elderflower, floral honey, cream, crystalized ginger Quality: Refined, soft, delicate, floral

Length 8.5/10

Flavours are full and rounded with a medium/long length

Finish 9/10

Notes: Caramel, cream, cocoa, little tannin
Quality: Acidity tapers off and honey turns to caramel and cream, before a little tannin on the finish, leaving soft creamy flavours to linger a short while

Balance 9.5/10

Bar feels disciplined, everything is in balance and attributes are complementary, medium/strong structure holds everything in place

Overall 9/10

Bar isn’t particularly deep, but has good dimension and is very balanced for its underlying complexity, structure is uniform and expression seems honest

Tasting Notes: First cacao known to have been cultivated regularly by humans in Mexico, Cacao Real Del Xoconuzco was for the Emperors of pre-Columbian civilizations in order to provide them strength and courage. It is also this that cocoa was the first to cross oceans to delight the palates of European courts. Difficult to grow the cocoa Xoconuzco were gradually neglected despite their fantastic fragrances. For the first time since 1850 that cocoa is used again to bring you to discover its enchanting perfumes, its great taste and its history if linked to ours.

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