Taylor & Bennett 64% Madagascar Dark Chocolate 87.5/100

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From a mix of criollo and trinitario cocoa beans from Madagascar this bar is Made by Taylor & Bennett in Leeds. With Dan Bennett, formerly of Melt Chocolates in Notting Hill responsible for producing the chocolate and James Taylor responsible for the unique branding that features packaging made using cacao husks in the material process.  

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I’ve tried plenty of Madagascan cacao now, those big fruity and acidic flavours of red berries that are the dominant feature of that cacao. It’s noticeable that there is a difference often between the big fruity and acidic trinitario varieties and the more refined and often slightly stonefruity criollos that come from Madagascar. Here we have a mix of criollo and trinitario, so I would expect the bar to be big and fruity, but with slightly more refined edge. Opening the bar there’s T&B’s 6 finger slab in a light almost milky brown, breaking off a piece there’s the usual Madagascan aroma of red berries and balsamic, with some almonds to offer a nutty edge, a little muted and simple this isn’t an overly powerful Madagascan display. To taste this bar has some pleasurable refinement, it’s an easily accessible expression of Madgascan cacao and it gives the impression of quality. The issue might be that quality overtakes honesty in this particular case, the bar expresses the refined side of Madagascan red fruits, but lacks overt acidity, or a complex expression of that acidity and the dimension of flavour you would expect to come with it. The bar offers an extremely creamy texture and mouthfeel, which while pleasant masks some of the more complex and honest flavour expressions. What is surprising however, is that the bar doesn’t feel overly sweet, which others around the 60% mark have a tendency to do, here the creaminess allows a more natural sweetness to develop which improves the bars profile. In the end this is a pleasant tasting bar, it’s just not as individually expressive as it could be, great for people new to single origin chocolate, but maybe not exciting enough for those who’ve tasted Madagascans before.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla extract

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Light milky brown, light purpling
Texture: Smooth, light flake
Mould: 6 finger T&B embossed slab
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Lightly acidic red berries, almonds, balsamic
Quality: Simple, distant

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Medium to long
Evenness: Speeds up a little
Texture: Thick cream
Quality: Full, heavy, smooth

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Red berries
Quality: Smooth, soft


Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7.5
Notes: Almonds, ripe fruit
Quality: Natural, soft

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Almond milk, red berries, cream
Quality: Deep, refined, smooth

Length 8.5/10

Flavours start slow, but get long in length throughout the melt, they’re longest at the finish, round feels short but improves towards the end

Finish 9/10

Notes: Red berries, cream
Quality: Red berry acidity fills the finish, before red berry and cream flavours linger on

Balance 9/10

This bar is heavily smooth and creamy, with acidity kept well tamed, which produces a large degree of balance, strong structure keeps bar rigidly in place

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth of flavour, but could benefit from increased dimension, small amounts of complexity are heavily balanced, structure is uniform and expression is honest, but processing has smoothed out some expressiveness and individuality in favour of a creamier texture and mouthfeel


Taylor & Bennett’s Tasting Notes: We believe that top-quality chocolate should speak for itself. This amazing single origin chocolate is a blend of Criollo and Trinitario beans. Fresh and acidic – a characteristic of Madagascan cacao, it has a wonderful melt, earthy chocolate flavour and robust red fruit notes.

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