This Acriollado cocoa is grown in the foggy Northern mountains of Nicaragua, and it’s named after one of the first people to grow it. The produce from small farms of less than 3.5 hectares is collected weekly and transferred into wooden boxes where it obtains its unique character. Once shipped these beans arrive in Budapest, Hungary at Rozsavolgyi Csokolade’s workshop where husband and wife team Zsolt Szabad and Katalin Csiszar help to turn them into one of their intricate tile moulded chocolate bars.
I’ve only really just begun to start appreciating the wide diversity of flavour from Nicaragua and the similarities between the varieties that are available. From Chuno, to Nicalizo, to Johe, there’s plenty of distinctive beans with their own individual flavours, but there seems to be a few things that bind them together. So far I’ve begun to expect some spicy notes along with a generally darker profile like that of dried fruit, but this isn’t exclusive and it’s not usually the dominant expression of the bar, more the binding characteristics of Nicaraguan cacao. It also seems that the fermentation method seems to have a more noticeable effect here, which might be due to the variance of techniques to provide fine flavour cacao. Opening the bar it’s the usual intricate and lovely chocolate work from Rozsavolgyi and breaking a section off there’s a distinctive, almost boozy set of aromas from an earthy fermented cocoa to wildflowers, orange oil and leather. Placing a piece in my mouth there’s a long buttercreamy mouthfeel that leads smoothly into the flavours. To taste this bar reminds me in parts of Rozsavolgyi Csokolade’s Carenero and Rio Caribe bars, there’s definitely some similarities here, but at the same time it is significantly different. There’s this spicy tone to the bar which is familiar and a particular well made balance which offers the bar a very steady experience, but it also feels like something small is missing. It’s hard to put my finger on, its more marginal tendencies, like not quite enough depth or not quite enough dimension. There’s complexity here, but then again it’s not quite refined enough for it to play out like an expensive whiskey. It’s hard to express exactly, this bar is definitely distinctive and it’s interesting with complex flavours creating an unsual palate of flavours to explore, it just feels like it’s a couple of points away from being really great. I’m being picky here though, this is a great bar with some distinctive expression and dark soft citrus and stonefruit notes backed by a spicy and dry base of tannins. To be enjoyed with attention and curiousity.
Ingredients: cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter
Colour: Earthy milky medium brown
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Roz intricate flower mould
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte
Notes: Natural cocoa, wildflower, sweet orange oil, leather
Quality: Distinctive, boozey
Quality: Viscous, smooth
Notes: Bitter orange, soft peach
Quality: Fruity, brightening, softening
Notes: Sweet orange, buttercream
Quality: Natural, effervescent, developed
Type: Sweet, bitter, salt
Notes: Bitter orange, soft peach, anise, peppercorn, grape skin tannin
Quality: Distinctive, complex
Steady long length, that rounds well in the later stages
Notes: Soft peach, peppercorn, grape skin tannin, dry
Quality: Soft peach and peppercorn heat fill the end before a grape skin tannin finish leaving a dry sensation to linger with notes of spice floating by
Bar has a strange amount of balance for its qualities, while unusual, levels feel equalised and solid structure gives bar a lot of stability, not harmonious exactly but definitely balanced
Bar has some depth of flavour with some good levels of dimension, complexities are particularly well balanced and structure is consistent, expression feels honest and distinctive with the processing providing a buttery feel to the bar
Rozsavolgyi Csokolade’s Tasting Notes: Natural fermented flavours.