Pump Street Bakery Ecuador 60% Dark Milk Hacienda Limon 91/100

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From central Ecuador inland from the coast in Los Rios, Hacienda Limon grows Nacional Arriba cacao beans and uses traditional harvesting techniques to process their beans after harvest. You can read more about the farm on Pump Street Bakery’s website http://www.pumpstreetbakery.com/chocolate/ecuador. Once processed these beans are shipped to the small Suffolk coastal town of Orford for turning into one of Pump Street’s single origin chocolate bars. A bakery may seem like a strange place to be producing chocolate bars, but if you’ve ever tasted their single origin Ecuadorian milk pain au chocolat, you’ll appreciate that Pump Street’s passion for and dedication to baking transfers just as well to chocolate making, as it does to producing wonderful baked goods.

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Having tried this chocolate is Pump Street’s baking, as well as in their bakery inclusion bars, I’m a little aware of what to expect here. My previous experiences were of a refined milk chocolate that was smooth and very accessible, in their inclusion bars I picked up some light citrus too. My hope for this bar is that it doesn’t lack anything for being displayed honestly on its own. Opening the bar I’m greeted by the familiar 4×4 Pump Street Bakery mould and some honest aromas of cocoa and lemony citrus. Flavour wise this bar reminds me of a haute couture version of a mars bar, all the flavours of chocolate, caramel, malt and nougat taken to a higher level. In a sense this bar of chocolate is simplistic, but it’s a very good expression of simplicity, cocoa, caramel and malt have to be the quintessential flavours attached to milk chocolate and while they may be presented simplistically, they’re also presented in a refined manner. The quality of these flavours is high and more importantly their balance and length are to be admired. You’ll find more exciting chocolate bars than this and you’ll also find far more interesting chocolate bars than this, even in the dark milk category, but for me this is the yard stick by which milk chocolate should be measured, it is everything milk chocolate should be. It is a representation of what great milk chocolate looks, feels and tastes like in your head, before you put it in your mouth, it is stereotypical milk chocolate quality. For those of you who already love and enjoy milk chocolate, this bar represents all the best qualities that you already know and love in your favourite chocolate.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium/light milky brown
Texture: Soft limestone
Mould: 4 x 4 simple squares
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Notes: Milky cocoa, lemon, lemongrass, lime rind
Quality: Fragrant, honest

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Cheesecake filling, sweetened condensed milk
Quality: Balanced, rich

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 3.5
Notes: Lime, lemon
Quality: Balancing, uplifting


Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Light caramel, sweetened condensed milk
Quality: Rounded

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Type: Sweet
Notes: Lime, lemon, caramel, sweet milk, malted milk, nougat
Quality: Honest, simple

Length 9.5/10

Flavours are long and developed and round well, interweaving and overlapping each other as they go

Finish 9/10

Notes: Caramel, milky cocoa, salt, malt
Quality: Caramel peaks towards the milky cocoa finish before an almost salty and malted tone lingers on for a long while after

Balance 9.5/10

Bar is overtly balanced, all here is complementary and in harmony, medium structure provides some anchor for the flavour

Overall 9/10

There is depth here and some degree of dimension, bar is simplistic, but refined, there’s tonnes of balance and structure is consistent, flavours are extended and balance and expression is almost perfect for milk chocolate

Pump Street Bakery’s Tasting Notes: This bar, made from the same beans as our Ecuador 75%, hits a balance between strong bean flavours offering a bittersweet balance and subtle undertones of milk.

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