J. D. Gross Peru Amazonas 60% 84/100

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From east central Peru on the border with the Brazilian state of Amazonas, this bar is made with trinitario beans from the Ucayali region of Peru. Once harvested they’re shipped to Berlin where Rausch Schokolade turn them into one of their chocolate bars, before rebranding them as J. D. Gross for Lidl.

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I’ve tried this cocoa before, somewhat unknowingly under the parent company’s production Rausch Chocolates last time I was in Berlin. Visiting the Schokoladenhaus we popped in to try a bunch of their single origin miniatures to see if any full size versions were worth picking up. There they had a 60% Peru available, which it turns out is this same chocolate only now labelled as Amazonas, by their pseudonym J.D. Gross. Having tried them before, they were more of a sample than an exploration, but I remember being slightly underwhelmed. Thanks to more recent tastings I have begun coming to a better understanding of Peruvian cocoa as it relates to flavour profiles by region and with this cocoa coming from the Amazonas side of Peru it’s more likely to contain classic Peruvian flavours of nuts, honey and citric acidity, in comparison to its lightly flavoured piura neighbours to the north. My hope is that this bar expresses those flavours with honesty and clarity. Opening the packaging the size of the bar is a little overwhelming, with rather large J.D. Gross squares, still the chocolate work looks like good industrial processing, with the colour a little darker than I’d expected for a 60%. Breaking a piece off reveals familiar aromas of hazelnut and honey with some lime and vanilla on the finish, light and although fragrant a little simple. Placing a piece in my mouth the mouthfeel does have a processed feel about it, but it’s also pretty accessible, slick and glossy with textures of caramel. To taste the bar is pretty subtle, the flavours are long and it has an intense sweetness, but the flavours are soft and light with a subtlety to them. There’s hazelnuts and a dominant presence of light honey that open up before moving on to white fruit flavours with a sugary pulp feel to them. Towards the back end there’s flavours reminiscent of sweetened soy milk and notes of vanilla which help to provide a rounded balance to the bar. In general the bar is sweet and accessible with a fairly white palate offering something light and without bitterness. This isn’t a great bar, it’s not overly expressive or individual, but it is good value for money. It’s an entry exploration of single origin chocolate, with fine flavour cacao directly traded and produced in an accessible way, which makes it a great starting point for those looking to try single origin chocolate. Best enjoyed with Muscat wine.

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: sunflower lecithins.

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker brown
Texture: Dry smooth, light flake
Mould: 5 x 2 large JD Gross squares
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte, consistent

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Hazelnut, honey, lime, vanilla
Quality: Light, fragrant, simple

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Fairly even, a little malleable
Texture: Slick, glossy, caramel
Quality: Full, processed

Acidity 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 3
Notes: White fruit, soy milk
Quality: Fruity, muted,

Sweetness 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Light honey, sugar pulp, sugar paste
Quality: Light, simple, unrefined

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Hazelnut, honey, white fruit pulp, sweetened soy milk, lime
Quality: Smooth, sweet, simple

Length 8.5/10

Flavours have a good length stretching out subtly, small rounds come on peaks of sweetness and acidity

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Honey, white fruit pulp, sugar paste, vanilla
Quality: Sweet and fruity tones of honey and white fruit pulp make their way to the end, before a sugar paste finish that leaves lingering sweet vanilla tones to stay on long after the finish

Balance 8.5/10

Bar is fairly simple and light, which allows for a lot of smooth balance medium structure provide some stability

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has a small amount of depth and a small amount of dimension, simplicity is easily balanced, structure is consistent and expression is true of origin, but processing has large footprints here providing smooth slick sweetness at the expense of some development


J. D. Gross’s Tasting Notes: The Trinitario cocoa bean is ideally suited to the sheltered Amazonian plantations in which it grows, producing a smooth and rich dark chocolate. The perfect indulgent treat.

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