Lucocoa Chocolate 70% Madagascar 81.5/100

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This bar uses cocoa beans from Madagascar, an origin responsible for producing some of the fruitiest chocolate that you’re likely to taste. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Lucocoa’s base in North London, where they reside as London’s first bean to bar chocolate maker. Lucocoa’s name is a combination of the ingredients they frequently use to make their bars lucuma, coconut sugar and cocoa beans, allowing them to do away with the need for refined sugars in their bars, while still achieving the sweetness they desire. With lucuma powder coming from a dried South American fruit, some people might argue that all of Lucocoa’s bars are close to being bars with inclusions.

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Having tried numerous bars from Madagascar now, it’s impossible not to expect the bar to be fruity, whether that displays itself as red berries or topical and stonefruit, tends to depend from whereabouts in Madagascar the beans are from, but regardless the cocoa is fruity. I’ve also tried coconut sugar before in baking and I’ve come across Lucuma powder in drinks and hot chocolate, my experience with coconut sugar was that it imparted sweetness, but with a bitter although not unpleasant finish to it, which tasted like burnt brown sugar. The lucuma on the other hand imparted a sweet citrusy tone to the drinks I’d tried with a kind of dairy tone to it, which was hard to describe. This leads me to expect a bar which tastes like a Madagascan, but with some unusual flavours in the sweetness category. Opening the bar and breaking off a piece the chocolate seems simple, but well processed and the aroma is familiar with both acidic red and yellow fruit having a place here. Now, I like butter, I like the flavour and the texture, but it’s not exactly what you would think of in terms of a chocolate bar being refined. There is a strong dairy element here, producing buttery and creamy textures and flavours, which along with caramelised sugars come to dominate the bar. While appearance and aroma start off strongly the buttery mouthfeel feels unstable and lacks a refined melt. The best expression of the flavours comes through with caramelised sugar notes creating somewhat of a dessert like palate, which dominates but complements a fluctuating tart yellow acidity. The bar is essentially unusual and lacks the red berry acidity I was expecting and instead tastes more akin to a dark toned white chocolate, I suspect that the lucuma and coconut sugar are responsible for some of the flavour as well as sweetness here, imparting sweet, buttery and sugar tones into the mix. In the end the bar feels like more an inclusion bar to me than it does a dark chocolate bar or alternatively more of an experiment than a finished product, but it’s not without interest or potential.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, coconut sugar, lucuma, cocoa butter

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Light to medium milky brown
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: 4 x 6 Simple squares
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Nuts, balsamic, tart red berries, seabuckthorn, apricot
Quality: Distinctive

Melt/Mouthfeel 7.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Variable
Texture: Buttery, mousse, foam
Quality: Viscous, heavy, aerated

Acidity 7.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Physalis, seabuckthorn
Quality: Overwhelmed, tart

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Caramel, papaya, crème brulee
Quality: Developed, dark

Flavour 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Bitter, sweet
Notes: Milk, caramel, papaya, physalis, cocoa butter, macadamia, seabuckthorn, caramel cheesecake
Quality: Distinctive

Length 8/10

Flavours are long, caramel and dairy carry for some distance, but flavours, especially acidity lack roundedness

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Caramel cheesecake, apricot
Quality: Buttery dessert flavours carry to the end with peaks of tart yellow acidity, leaving some caramel sugars and white chocolate to linger

Balance 8/10

Bar is mostly complementary and flavours marry like in a dessert, just not overtly, some smoothing and refining is required for better balance, medium structure provides some anchor

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth of flavour and to some degree some dimension, structure is uniform and expression is individual if not unusual

Lucocoa’s Tasting Notes: Elegance with attitude. The deep body of our Madagascan melts in the mouth to release a vibrant red berry rush that lingers on the tastebuds. Refined but not reticent.

 

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