These forastero and trinitario beans come from the Rwenzori mountain range which lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. These beans were sourced with the help of Clemens Fehr and his wife Corinne who run a community project enabling farmers to increase the quantity of high quality cacao grown in the area. Once available they’re shipped to Bonn in Germany where Georg Bernadini and Ramona Gustmann of Confiserie Coppeneur fame help to turn them into one of Georgia Ramon’s chocolate bars.
I’ve not tried any cocoa from the Congo before and I’ve only just started tasting coffees from this region. So far the coffees have exhibited deep chocolatey bases with subtle fruit notes, ranging from dark plums to hints of redcurrants. My expectations for this bar are therefore pretty limited, my hopes are that there is some form of clarity rather than simply deep dark muddy unrefined flavours. Opening the bar there’s similar chocolate work to Georgia Ramon’s last bar, but this look damper, softer and a little less refined, a naturally higher cocoa butter percentage perhaps. Breaking a piece off, there’s a notably mute aroma, although it’s also particularly clean with a slight grassy note. Placing a piece in my mouth it begins soft, smooth and then foamy, before the tail end of the melt is more reminiscent of a bar with malt or breadcrumb inclusion, its rough and grainy, but pleasurably so. To taste, the bar is fruity up front with white and yellow tones coming from grapes, melon and apricots, which provide the soft and bright acidity. Mid way through the melt the bar begins to change to notes of toasted wheat, honey and spices. Ginger and star anise along with lemon peel create a dry spicy finish that is more nuanced than I would have expected. I wouldn’t call this bar refined and it’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s particularly expressive for a bar where my inclinations were towards something earthier and muddier. There’s not a huge amount of complexity here, but there’s enough depth and dimension to carry the bar through, in the end the bar has enough grace to come off like a delicate dessert, giving it an appreciable likeability. Best enjoyed paired with a similar profiled dessert wine or meringue.
Ingredients: Cocoa liquor Congo, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter
Colour: Medium brown, light purpling
Texture: Aerated fudge
Mould: GR Ramon alternate bloc slab
Snap: Crisp, soft
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte
Notes: Grassy cocoa, clear spirit
Quality: Clean, simple, refined
Length: Medium to long
Texture: Soft, foamy, grainy
Quality: Big, confectionary, unrefined
Notes: White grapes, melon, apricot
Quality: Fruity, soft, bright
Notes: Ripe melon, honey, sugar syrup
Quality: Bright, rich, developed, dry
Notes: White grapes, melon, apricot, honey, toasted wheat, lemon juice, star anise, ginger
Quality: Light, sharp, distinctive
Flavours are bold and long developing over the course of the melt, rounds come as the long soft acidity peaks
Notes: Toasted wheat, honey, lemon juice, star anise, ginger
Quality: Toasted wheat and honey fill the end of the bar as fruit and acidity moves over to citrus, with a dry finish full of spices and lemon peel that lingers on
Attributes are complementary, high degree of top notes from fruit, acidity and sweetness provide a floaty bar, but toasted wheat and honey provide sufficient base to centre the bar, medium to light structure provides enough anchoring, complementary rather than overt balance
Bar has some depth of flavour and some dimension, very little complexity is well managed, structure is light but consistent, expression seems honest of terroir while processing could do more to improve the mouthfeel.
Georgia Ramon’s Tasting Notes: Subtly fruity with flavours of cherries, plums and apricots in the finish with notes of spices.