Urban Cacao Madagascar 64% 84.5/100

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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 central Amsterdam, where Hans Mekking is responsible for turning them into one of Urban Cacao’s chocolate bars.

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I’ve tried numerous bars from Madagascan cacao now, all fruity, but not all with the same level of refinement or flavour. Those that aren’t from Akesson’s estate either tend to be hidden gems or of lower quality, my hope with this bar is that it expresses the fruit of Madgascars terroir, but offers some additional complexity. Opening this bar there’s some signs of quality processing, the most favourable elements being the melt, the mouthfeel and the balance, which help to package up a bar that delivers a flavour distinctive of origin, although, at its very tamest. This is a bar that is neither great, nor problematic, there’s nothing bad about this bar exactly it’s pretty consistent across the board in its general qualities, but it lacks any magic, any experimentalism, any ambition. This might be as inoffensive as an acidic bar gets without being overly refined, all the notes here are light and fruity without having much in the way of complexity or dimension, it’s not wild rather its an easy going approach to bright and uplifting flavours. The roast and development seem light, the red berry fruits of Madagascan cacao have been developed, but that’s as far as we go, even the sweetness seems simple given the possibilities. What we have here is a bar where no risks have been taken, where no challenge has been attempted, instead this is a safe and reliable bar, which produces a flavour unique to an origin that’s accessible and friendly. Might not be a bad bar to start your cautious friends off on a cacao journey. 

Ingredients: Cacao, sugar, emulsifier: soya lecithin, vanilla extract

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium/light milky brown
Texture: Smooth, hard
Mould: Ridged 5 x 6 molded squares
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Dull glossy matte, consistent

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Red berries, sherry vinegar, balsamic, sugar syrup
Quality: Honest, quickly fades

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Very Even
Texture: Syrup, smooth
Quality: Refined, improves over the melt

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Raspberries
Quality: Bright, uplifting

Sweetness 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Raspberry syrup, berry jam, confectioners’ sugar
Quality: Fruity

Flavour 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Type: Sweet
Notes: Raspberry, confectioners’ sugar, sweet white wine,
Quality: Light, bright, pleasurable

Length 8.5/10

Flavours are light, but fairly long, drifting off rather than rounding out

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Red berries, confectioners’ sugar
Quality: Acidity peaks before the finish with bright red berry notes, before falling into confectioners’ sugar and a faint metallic twinge

Balance 9/10

Bar might lack some roundedness, but otherwise it is well balanced, all attributes feel like they are in harmony even with a medium to light structure

Overall 8/10

Bar has some depth of flavour, but lacks dimension, there’s not much complexity here, but there is balance, structure remains fairly consistent and expression is true of origin while not taken to its full conclusion


Tasting Notes: Red berries, acidulous

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