This is not chocolate, well it is, it’s just not cacao, it’s Grandiflorum a separate species of the genus Theobroma and instead of producing cacao pods it produces Cupuaçu fruits. Looking like a cross between a coconut and a kiwi fruit, they break open to reveal a white creamy looking bean with a higher fat content than cacao beans and a slightly lower melting point than chocolate. This bean with its high fat content is traditionally fermented for longer than cacao and roasted lower and for longer than its genetic cousin. Once this unusual fruit is grown at Amma’s farm in Monte Alegra in the Mata Atlantica forest in the inland north east of Brazil, it is processed there before being shipped around the world for us to enjoy.
I’ve had non cacao chocolate before, having tried James Hoffmann’s creation of cascara chocolate through Square Mile’s London Coffee Festival stand, so I do have some general expectations regarding this bar, but if I’m honest I know very little about Theobroma Grandiflorum or its Cupuaçu fruit. The cascara chocolate had great flavour, but was lacking in terms of its mouthfeel and textural qualities and with cacao having very unique tempering properties this may not be all that surprising. I can only therefore expect interesting but apparent flavours, with an unusual and likely less appealing mouthfeel than cacao.
The first thing you notice is the milk chocolate colour of the 80% bar, before the obviously low melting point begins to leave traces of chocolate on your fingers, due to Grandiflorum’s high fat content. The aroma is a big hit of fruity alcohol and florals, leading you into a strange and interesting mouthfeel, it’s reminiscent of a cadbury’s wispa, but softer and more mousse like. The bar scores low in the category of mouthfeel, but I should emphasise that while it doesn’t match up with high quality cacao processing, this isn’t cacao and everything this bar lacks in quality it more than makes up for in terms of its interesting qualities, this bar is more different than it is lacking. It’s at this point that I realise judging this bar by the standards of chocolate might be a little unfair. Still the bar makes a scoring comeback in terms of flavour, it’s a complex affair of sweet, bitter and alcoholic flavours due more than likely to the long fermentation used in processing. Here an interplay of florals and white fruit combine with complex alcoholic notes which create something reminiscent of the flavours found in certain whiskeys and white wines. This is a great product with a unique taste, it’s just that it’s a good rather than great chocolate bar, but then again like I’ve said before this isn’t really a chocolate bar and judging it like one might just be a little unfair.
Note: Additionally after eating the Cupuaçu bar, there were some noticeable mental alertness effects, more intense than theobromine and more stable than caffeine, it produced, for me at least increased awakeness and alertness.
Ingredients: Cupuaçu bean, cupuaçu butter, organic sugar and love
Colour: Light milky brown
Texture: Rough fudge
Mould: Amma 12 block + slab
Snap: Soft doughy fudge
Temp/Shine: Shiny, consistent
Notes: Raisin, rum, Christmas spice, lavender, butter, glogg
Quality: Alcoholic, authentic, complex
Texture: Marshmallow, foamy, fudge, Cadbury’s Wispa like
Quality: Unusual, aerated
Notes: Raisin, pear, whiskey, bitter orange
Quality: Alcoholic, light
Notes: Bitter caramel, burnt honey, floral honey
Quality: Little green, overwhelmed by bitterness
Type: Bitter, sweet
Notes: Lavender, raisin, flame raisin, pine, glogg, poached pear, apple blossom, burnt honey, orange rind, banana
Quality: Complex, distinctive
Flavours are long and complex, developing over the course of the round
Notes: Lavender, pine, pear, banana bitter cocoa
Quality: Bar ends with notes of lavender, pine and pear, before leaving a lingering bitterness, as a flavour rather than as an astringency with hints of banana
This bar has some elegance to it, but lacks balance, bar leans towards a bitterness that overpowers the sprouting acidity and sweetness, structure is light and airy
Bar has good depth and even greater dimension of flavour, it is complex but unbalanced although structure is consistent, expression is unique and while a complex dimensioned flavour is apparent, green floral and grass notes suggest possible underdevelopment, although this isn’t cacao so flavours may be indicative of genetics
Tasting Notes: Theobroma Grandiflorum: a gem from the Brazilian rainforest, carved by AMMA from the forest we have sourced the fruits of the most aromatic Cupuaca extracting its beans, wrapped in a creamy, sweet and acidulated pulp. After a long fermentation and sun drying these beans were transformed into Grandiflorum 80%, the bar you are about to taste. The result is the pure and outstanding flavour of this fresh and unique fruit, that keeps changing constantly. It’s the velvety texture, melting in your mouth and playing with your senses. Something absolutely new and mind blowing. The rich flavour from the Brazilian rainforests.