Jordi’s Madagascar Befojo 75% 87.5/100

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This bar is made using trinitario beans grown from saplings that originated in Java, on Betrtil Akesson’s Befojo farm in the fertile Sambirano valley located in the north west of Madagascar. Once harvested and shipped they arrive in Hradec Králové, 50 miles east of Prague, where founders Jiří Stejskal and Lukáš Koudelka help to turn these into one of Jordi’s chocolate bars.

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I’ve tried plenty of chocolate from Madagascar now with plenty of that chocolate coming from Akesson’s farms, I’ve not necessarily had it all from Befojo though. In general you can expect high acidity and plenty of berries with the occasional bit of citrus or tropical fruit, but usually there’s something individual about all bars from Madagascar and there’s always a noticeable difference between the criollos and the trinitarios in terms of refinement. Opening this bar – from the front – I’m confronted with Jordi’s geometric slab and breaking off a piece there’s some fresh and green fragrant berries like redcurrants that remind me a lot of a red wine with garrique notes. Placing a piece in my mouth, the chocolate is thick, full and heavy making its presence known with a buttercreamy texture. To taste it’s not the full frontal assault of berries and acidity of some Madagascan cocoa, rather it’s a more balanced and stable approach featuring some more particular and distinctive berry notes, with redcurrants and blueberries taking the place of the usual raspberries and strawberries. Here the flavour seems particular, like soft redcurrants and slightly tart and herbal blueberries, a clarity of dimension to the flavour, while a sweet buttercream tone underpins all of this providing both texture and sweetness. This bar offers something interesting and as far as Madagascan cocoa is concerned something fairly original, but it just lacks the outright quality in some of the peripheral areas of the bar to make it truly stand out. Best paired with mineral and vegetal flavour red wines and well worth a revisit.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium to light brown
Texture: Dense, quarried flake
Mould: Jordi’s squarecomb slab
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Redcurrants, red wine, red berries, grass
Quality: Fresh, fragrant, acidic

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Even
Texture: Thick, buttercreamy, aerated
Quality: Full, heavy

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Redcurrant, blueberry
Quality: Lightly sharp, uplifting

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Ripe fruit, buttercream, gomme
Quality: Honest, juicy

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet
Notes: Soft redcurrants, tart blueberries, red pepper, buttercream
Quality: Deep, distinctive

Length 9/10

Flavours start out slow, but then become very elongated, rounding on the sharp turns in the acidity

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Berries, buttercream, dry
Quality: Berry fruits pare down towards the end where there’s a dry slightly astringent finish, which gives the bar a lingering juiciness

Balance 9/10

Bar operates within a very balanced space, levels are very equalised and bar is particularly stable for a Madagascan, not overtly harmonious but medium structure seems plenty for anchoring flavour within space

Overall 9/10

Bar has plenty of depth and even some dimension of flavour especially with the fruits, small amount of complexity is easily balanced, structure is consistent and expression seems honest of terroir and more specifically region, processing seems to have provided stability

Jordi’s Tasting Notes:

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