Crea Jamaica 72% 84.5/100

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From the north West of Italy in the Piedmont region, Crea are importers and refiners of high quality food products, with their range extending as far as single origin chocolate tablets. Here we have their single origin offering from Jamaica, a small island in the Caribbean sea.

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I’ve not tried chocolate from Jamaica before and my only experience with its coffee has come from Jamaica Blue Mountain, which is highly variable in quality. So my experiences are limited to chocolate from the surrounding islands such as Cuba, Haiti or the Dominican Republic and distant neighbours in central America. Which leaves me with little in the way of expectations, if I had to guess I’d probably go for darker more robust flavours, but again I’d be guessing. Opening the bar there’s a crazy paving segmenting of sorts with cocoa pod designs, breaking off a piece reveals aromas of nutty cocoa, heaps of sharp vanilla and some milk and spice, which if I’m honest come off as a bit industrially produced. To taste this bar has the potential to be thoroughly enjoyable, there is a tart green acidity that marries up well with an innate creaminess, but the problem is, that the creaminess and the sweet vanilla buttercream flavours come to dominate and create something that is smooth and balanced at the expense of individual flavour. Processing has overstepped its remit and gone beyond the refining and balancing of the chocolate bar, instead coming to dominate it, creating an overly smooth and vanilla defined bar, when it had the opportunity to express itself more honestly. While I have criticisms, it is worth noting that this bar is also enjoyable and pleasant, it has an interesting if overwhelmed flavour and offers distinctive and individual flavours, no doubt the cocoa was of a decent flavour profile to begin with. This, in the end is an accessible bar, with some decent features, but made more approachable than interesting and that is where it breaks down for me. One for those unsure about acidity and full frontal flavour.

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soy lecithin, natural vanilla extract

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium brown
Texture: Milky smooth with flake
Mould: Cocoa pod and leaf 6 block crazy pave
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Notes: Nutty cocoa, sharp vanilla, spice, milk, vanilla sponge
Quality: Little synthetic, sweet

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Even
Texture: Buttercream, cream
Quality: Smooth, dominating, heavy

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Gooseberry, Persian lime
Quality: Lightly tart, dwarfed, balancing

Sweetness 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Vanilla buttercream
Quality: Simple

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Vanilla buttercream, gooseberry, lime, cream, vanilla, hazelnut
Quality: Simple, muted

Length 9/10

Flavours can be a little muted, but they are long in length and acidity helps achieve the round

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Gooseberry, lime, cream, vanilla, hazelnut
Quality: Gooseberry and lime acidity gives way to a vanilla and hazelnut cream finish that smoothly lingers on after the end

Balance 8.5/10

Bar is largely smooth and creamy, but it’s the acidity that helps to balance this bar out, strong structure comes to dominate bar, but provides a lot of stability

Overall 8/10

Bar has depth but not exactly where it counts and lacks dimension, small amount of complexity could be encouraged, but are instead dwarfed and forcibly balanced, structure is heavy and consistent and expression is dwarfed by processing, there is individuality here, but it is muted by a heavy creamy vanilla nature that has come about by processing


Crea’s Tasting Notes:

 

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