Chocolate Tree Sambirano Madagascar Trinitario 72% 92.5/100


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 and with this bar being made from trinitario beans, which are also fruity in nature, it has the potential to be indicative of Madagascar’s notoriously fruity terroir. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Haddington just east of Edinburgh to Chocolate Tree’s factory where husband and wife team Alastair & Friederike Gower turn these beans into one of Chocolate Tree’s chocolate bars.


Having experienced trinitario varieties from the Sambirano Valley in Madagascar as some of the fruitiest cacao I’ve ever tried, I’m expecting this to be no different. Big hits of juicy and acidic red berries, possibilities of balsamic with jam like qualities and every so often a little yellow stonefruit creeping in. Opening the beautiful packaging, we’re led onto some beautiful chocolate work before breaking off a piece for a distinctly pleasurable aroma, it’s unmistakeably Madagascan, but without being quite as wild. From here on it has the features of an atypical Madagascan trinitario, with tonnes of fruit and acidity, developing a ripe fruit sweetness and plenty of rounded and slightly effervescent flavours. Where this bar stands out though is in the development of its balance and equalization of levels, a lot of Madagascan trinitario bars are massive bombs of acidic flavour, they’re fun and exciting, but lack some structure, balance or refinement. Here things are a little different, acidity doesn’t take over this bar and dominate the proceedings, rather it works alongside the bars other elements, showcasing itself, but not at the expense of all other attributes. It seems the roasting and conching of this bar has found another place for the high fruity acidity to sit in, where it’s not just unruly and attention seeking. If I had any complaints it might be that it feels too structured, but in a world of loose playful Madagascan trinitarios I’m not going to complain too much about a structured and well presented alternative. What this is, is an enjoyably acidic trinatario for those who find the traditional Madagascans too fruity and overpowering, this is an acidity they’ll be able to appreciate. It’s also a structured alternative for those who like a lot of fruit in their chocolate and it’s an impressive one at that.

Ingredients: Cacao beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter

Appearance 9.5/10

Colour: Medium lightly translucent brown
Texture: Very smooth
Chocolate Tree flower print uneven blocks
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Notes: Intense cocoa, tobacco, zingy red berries
Quality: Rounded, honest

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Firm, smooth, gelatinous
Quality: Consistent, heavy

Acidity 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Raspberries, mango
Quality: Bright, rounded, developed

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Notes: Raspberries, mango, pink sherbet
Quality: Effervescent, honest

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Type: Sweet
Notes: Raspberries, plums, mango, pink champagne, cocoa
Quality: Deep, honest, rounded

Length 9/10

Slow start leads to long fruity flavours that overlap each other, rounding on the acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Raspberries, milk, cocoa
Quality: Peaks of acidity roll over to a touch of milk on the finish, before a mildly lingering milky cocoa

Balance 9.5/10

Bar is particularly well balanced for having a distinct acidity, levels are pretty well equalised and acidity is brought into a rigid but airy structure, bar feels like it has been brought into balance, rather than it tending towards balance in its natural state

Overall 9/10

There is good depth here and some good dimension in the acidic fruit flavours, complexities and levels have been balanced, structure is firm and consistent, flavour expression is honest of terroir, but the vehicle for those expressions is presented by the chocolatier

Tasting Notes: A carefully roasted and slowly conched dark chocolate bar with acidic, high fruity notes. Red like the colour of the soil in the Sambirano Valley



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