Manufaktura Czekolady Nicaragua Nicalizo 70% 89/100


Grown in the tropical forests of the northern mountains of Nicaragua towards the Honduran border, these beans are a Trinitario-Acriollado variety that has been designated Heirloom cacao number 8 by Once harvested the beans are shipped to Warsaw where Christopher Stypułkowski and Thomas Sienkiewicz turn them into one of Manufaktura’s chocolate bars.


Nicaraguan cacao has some fairly distinct differences, there’s a reason why Ingemann separate out all their varieties and growing regions. My previous experience of Nicalizo was of a complex, fruity, balanced and honest chocolate. Featuring complex fruit flavourss and a bright acidity, which made it distinctive even among Nicaraguan cacao. One of the lightest amongst the Nicaraguan cocoa varieties and probably the most acidic it was particularly expressive of its qualities, I’m hoping for some more of the same here, a cocoa that displays itself prominently and with Manufaktura’s preference for pure cocoa with only added sugar I’m expecting the flavour profile to be distinctly honest. Opening the bar, it’s the familiar silver sealed packet of chocolate that once opened reveals another of Manufaktura’s rough aesthetics. Breaking a piece off reveals a subtle complex aroma that spreads from sweet nutty and earthy tones to tart malic fruit coming in waves of familiar expression. Placing a piece in my mouth brings a distinctive mouthfeel that reminds me of fruit flesh or the sticky pulp you find in fruit with a slight dry astringency helping to make it juicy. To taste this bar is as complicated as it is complex, it’s almost a tasting wheel puzzle with flavours coming in woven layers, weaving their way in and out. In general there’s some malic and citric fruit coming in the form of apples and bergamot with a creaminess that begins to underpin the proceedings. It rather reminds me of delicate French choux patisserie topped with fruit. It can be difficult to pin down but its soft nature and its ability to consistently return to the centre gives an impression of a playful bar that operates within the boundaries of balance. This is an honest and somewhat rustic bar of chocolate that’s all substance with no style, it might appear rough around the edges, but it’s rather pretty on the inside if you have the attention to pull out its greater attributes. Enjoy alongside bright and fruity natural coffees or with dry sparkling white wines.

Ingredients: Cocoa, sugar

Appearance 8/10

Colour: Darker brown
Texture: Chalky grain
Unrefined 5×3 blocks
Snap: Click
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Sweet hazelnuts, fruity cocoa, tart green apple, tobacco, sweet earthy ferment
Quality: Sweet, subtly complex, Malic

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Medium to long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Sticky pulp, juicy, smooth
Quality: Viscous, consistent, smooth

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Braeburn apple, bergamot, gooseberry
Quality: Soft, citric, a little tart

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Sugar, crème patisserie, ripe fruit
Quality: Distinctive, changing, complementary

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Braeburn apple, tangerine, bergamot, tobacco, banana custard, roasted nutty cocoa
Quality: Complex, complicated, developed

Length 9/10

Subtle flavours float in and out on waves, weaving between each other for differing lengths, bar rounds on uneven peaks of acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Malocitric fruit, crème patisserie, roasted nutty cocoa
Quality: Fruity tones make their way to the end under a tone of sweet crème patisserie with a roasted nutty cocoa finish that’s fairly clean leaving a subtle juicy lingering overall tone of the bar

Balance 9/10

Bar feels a little uneven or offkilter, but despite this retains a highly complementary balance always returning back to centre, medium to light structure provides an anchor without restriction

Overall 9/10

Bar has some depth and a good degree of dimension, high complexity is always brought back to balance, structure remains consistent and expression is particularly honest with processing managing a complementary consistency


Manufaktura Czekolady’s Tasting Notes: Delicately tart, smooth, creamy, grape, wood


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