Åkesson’s Brazil Fazenda Sempre Firme 75% Forastero 90/100

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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.

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I’ve tried a couple of bars from Brazilian origin now and I’ve found them pretty varied, no doubt due to the varied genetics and varieties being grown in Brazil, but also in terms of the highly varied terroir there. I have in a way tasted this bar before though, having tried Åkesson’s 75% & coffee nibs, which uses the same cacao. I can’t help but feel though, that while similar, without an inclusion this is likely to taste somewhat different. Opening the bar there’s a familiar big Å staring back at me with some dark and fresh aromas emanating from it. Tobacco and leather provide the earthiness, but there’s also some nettle and fresh cut hay to bring it alive. Placing a piece in my mouth I’m instantly hit by the creaminess, before flavours of dates and rye whiskey come in to play. There’s a complex sweet/dark flavour to this bar that’s fairly intense, dragging you in before a rounding date and orange acidity lets you back out. The whole dark complex sugar, spice and light citrus element is reminiscent of a Christmas pudding of sorts or wintry spiced cakes that have been aged in spirit, but it’s this depth and dimension of flavour, which is probably the bar’s stand out attribute. It’s maybe a rich and dark acquired taste, but if that’s in your wheelhouse of flavours then this is a welcoming bar with a distinctive quality. Probably best enjoyed with strong cheddar or a glass of sweet sherry brandy.

Ingredients: Cocoa, cane sugar, pure cocoa butter, emulsifier (GMO-free soya lecithin)

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Medium brown
Texture: Smooth, soft swirl
Mould: Big Å Åkesson’s mould

Snap: Crisp (soft/crumbly)
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Tobacco, fresh cut hay, nettle, leather, tomato
Quality: Fresh, subtly complex

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Even
Texture: Creamy, smooth, sticky
Quality: Full, heavy, rich

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Date, orange
Quality: Complementary, rounding

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Date syrup, molasses
Quality: Developed, rich, dark

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Bitter, sweet
Notes: Cream, toasted rye, whiskey, date, chestnut, spice, anise
Quality: Dark, complex, dimensioned

Length 9/10

Flavours are bold and extend in length throughout the melt, staying for long periods before finally rounding on the acidity

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Date, chestnut, spice, lightly astringent
Quality: Dark fruit, nut and spice flavours fill the end before a slightly astringent finish, leaving warming dark cocoa tones to linger

Balance 9/10

Bar is a bit murky and dark, but it does get dragged back to balance by the acidity, attributes are complementary and heavy structure and smooth mouthfeel encourage more balance

Overall 9.5/10

Bar has a tonne of depth, but possibly more dimension, complexities are well balanced and structure is consistently dense, expression seems very honest of terroir with processing encouraging the smoothness


Åkesson’s Tasting Notes: The chocolate we developed from our beans is smooth, woody and earthy. It has also expressive notes that evoke autumn scents, tobacco and the local pitanga fruit.

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