In April 2009, Bertil Åkesson and his Brazillian partner Dr. Angelo Calmon de Sa, purchased the historic Fazenda Sempre Firme in Bahia, Brazil. This 120 ha cocoa plantation is right in the middle of the Mata Atlantica, a wild forest on the east coast of Brazil. Here they grow parasinho beans, a variety of forastero cocoa, notorious in Brazil for its fine flavour.
I’ve not tried much in the way of Brazilian cacao and I’ve not tried forastero cacao before either, so this bar is likely to be a bit of a learning curve for me. I’d expected that Brazilian cacao would have flavours of caramel and nuts transferring over my knowledge of Brazilian coffee, but I’ve become aware that Brazilian cacao is likely to be a bit fruitier than I’d supposed. Opening the bar there’s the familiar big Å Åkesson’s mould and aromas of coffee and dates, maybe not surprising for a bar with coffee nib inclusions. To taste though this bar reminds me a lot of a Viennese café, dark roasted coffee, cream and dried exotic fruits, all traditional class and sophistication. The bar is quite fruity without being overly acidic and it’s a little hard to pin down, the tasting notes include Pitanga fruit, which I’ve neither tried nor heard of, which may explain my lack of clarity. Paired with the fruit are dark sugars, cream and the dark roasted Brazilian Bourbon coffee nibs. The coffee adds a sweetness and the darker roast allows for a good crunchy texture, although while the flavour is complementary with the chocolate it isn’t the expressive tones of a lighter roast, for which I have a preference. The flavours pair well, but the chocolate is more honest than the coffee. Processing provides some additional creaminess that helps to balance some bitter notes, but more importantly provides a helping hand to the bars balance. This is a bar that provides traditional sophisticated taste with good flavour and in the process provides a classical example of coffee combined with chocolate. Best enjoyed when the rain is tapping on the window and you want to go back in time to the tastes and textures of early 20th century European cafes.
Ingredients: Cocoa, cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, coffee nibs (5%), emulsifier GMO free soya lecithin.
Colour: Earthy darker brown
Mould: Big Å Åkesson’s mould
Snap: Crisp, soft
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte, consistent
Notes: Dates, roasted coffee, clove
Quality: Subtly complex, dried sugars
Texture: Creamy, spiky, crunchy
Notes: Date, lime, clementine
Notes: Date, coconut sugar, honey, sugar crunch
Quality: Developed, naturally flavoured, distinctive
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Cream, date, dark roast coffee, dried fig, clementine
Quality: Deep, dark, dimensioned
Flavours are long and deep with a smooth round coming from the sweetness and acidity
Notes: Cream, date, bittersweet dark roast coffee
Quality: Sweet cream and date notes fill the end before a dark roast coffee finish, with bittersweet coffee notes lingering on after the finish
Bar is well balanced with dark sweet flavours providing a deep base for fruit flavours to blend with, inclusion is complementary and medium to light structure provides openness for flavour
Bar has depth and a good degree of dimension, subtle complexity is well balanced and structure is uniform, expression feels honest with processing adding additional creaminess, inclusion is indicative of a more traditional dark roast coffee
Åkesson’s Tasting Notes: This chocolate has expressive noted that evoke wood, autumn scents, and the local pitanga fruit; a perfect match to the aromatic notes of honey, malt and maple syrup present in our Brazilian Bourbon coffee nibs.