Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Madagascar 71% Cacao Criollo Åkesson Estate 95.5/100

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Located in the north west of Madagascar, the Sambirano Valley is responsible for producing some of the fruitiest chocolate that you’re likely to taste. These beans however, are from criollo heritage and so are from a less fruity variety to the traditional trinitario stock in Madagascar, exhibiting more refined cocoa notes instead. Only around two tonnes of criollo are produced every year, so in a sense this is a rare bar from a limited crop. This bar uses the same beans as Åkesson’s Cacao Criollo 75% owing to the fact that Bertil Åkesson is Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé’s Madagascan bean supplier.

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Approaching this bar, I can’t help but feel I’m going to really enjoy it. I really enjoyed the last bar of Åkesson’s criollo cacao and for good reason too. The beans have both refined and fruity elements, with lots of dimensioned flavour and plenty of honesty and distinctiveness to go with it. The remaining question to be answered is, does the processing match up to the quality of the beans. Sometimes it’s harder to talk about bars that are really good than it is to talk about bars with imperfections. You feel like you’re pandering somehow and that you’re raising readers expectations to far beyond what the bar is capable of producing, but I would be failing in my role if I didn’t point out that this bar is really, really, good. From the outset peeling away the packaging and the waxed paper covering, to reveal the intricate tile moulding, to the expert production techniques that have provided crisp snaps, complex and refined aromas and a wonderful smooth jammy mouthfeel you get the immediate impression that this bar is going to be a winner. It doesn’t stop there, the flavour is complex, dimensioned, full, honest and distinctive, its all the positive descriptive words that can be used to describe flavour. There is very little to complain about here and there is very little reason to disuade you from going straight out now to purchase and taste one of these bars.

Ingredients: Organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter

Appearance 10/10

Colour: Light / medium milky brown
Texture: Very smooth, fudge
Mould: Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé intricate flower mould
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Buttery roasted cocoa, red berry jam, rich wood, cherry, mango
Quality: Refined, complex

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Medium long, soft
Evenness: Even, malleable
Texture: Smooth, jelly, jam
Quality: Refined, texturally pleasurable

Acidity 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Red berries, jam, mango, papaya
Quality: Rounded, bright

Sweetness 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Ripe fruit (berry/mango/papaya), light honey, milky caramel
Quality: Developed, refined

Flavour 10/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Red berry jam, butter, milky caramel, cocoa, mango, papaya, juniper
Quality: Full, honest, distinctive, refined

Length 9.5/10

Flavours develop to become longer as acidity breathes through, rounding excellently over their length

Finish 9.5/10

Notes: Berries, cocoa, papaya, caramel
Quality: Berry acidity gives way to a touch of cocoa that moves to a subtly lingering papaya and caramel

Balance 9/10

Bar can at times lean a little towards acidity, but for the most part is fairly harmonious, working together under a medium structure to offer a complementary balance

Overall 9.5/10

Bar has excellent depth and dimension, developing long refined flavours, it is complex and well balanced with a consistent structure. Expression is indicative of terroir and genetics producing both fruity and refined flavours that have been developed equally together


Tasting Notes: This bar is made from a rare criollo cocoa bean that is grown in the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar – only two tonnes per annum. Due to the unique fermentation and careful processing the mild character of the criollo is complemented by the sweet and sour taste of the fresh cocoa pulp.

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