Cacao Sampaka Madagascar 71% 87/100

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This bar is made with cocoa beans from Madagascar. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Barcelona where Cacao Sampaka turn them into one of their single origin chocolate bars.

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I’ve tried a lot of cocoa from Madagascar now and assuming this is a trinitario variety, it’s going to be fruity, with berry flavours leading the charge. Occasionally there’s some balsamic to the acidity and occasionally some tropical and stonefruits enter the mix, but in general it’s red fruits, high acidity and hopefully a smooth balance. Opening the bar there’s two thin but full Cacao Sampaka imprinted slabs, another of the one for now, one for later group. Breaking a piece off reveals subtly nuanced aromas that could be missed at first sniff, with notes of almonds and a complex arrangement of herbs, fruit and baked spice, it’s subtle and timid, but it’s there. Placing a piece in my mouth, the chocolate has a glossy viscous feel to it which hints at a darker roast along with the colour, not necessarily a bad thing, but in terms of the mouthfeel it doesn’t feel fully complementary to the flavour. To taste this bar is pretty complex, opening with dark sugars and bittersweet roasted notes, it expresses a set of flavours suggesting at a bar that has been over roasted, masking its honest expression, but over the course of the melt this bar develops a mellow complexity, which suggests at some real development. The acidity suffers a little taking a backstep, where it would usually be very much at the forefront and instead a set of herbaceous flavours comes through in a complex arrangement with dark sugars, spice and dried fruit notes. There’s a real interesting layer of flavours beneath the surface that give this bar some real nuance and originality in reference to other Madagascan bars, although the darker roast is distinctly evident here. For those that prefer their Madagascans fruity and shy away from dark roasts, this probably isn’t the bar for you, but if you’re naturally inclined to prefer Caribbean cocoa and looking for an introduction to Madagascar then this one’s probably for you. Best enjoyed alongside aged dark rums.

Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin).

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Darker brown Texture: Smooth, light grain Mould: Full Cacao Sampaka inprint slab Snap: Crisp Temp/Shine: Glossy

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7 Notes: Almonds, herbal berries, burnt raisin, baked all spice Quality: Dark, fragrant, subtly nuanced

Melt/Mouthfeel 8/10

Length: Long Evenness: Fairly even, thins and slicks towards the end Texture: Glossy, viscous, creamy Quality: Viscous, roasted, processed

Acidity 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 4 Notes: Wild berry, raisin Quality: Dark, complex, short

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7 Notes: Molasses, dark muscovado sugar Quality: Developed, roasted, dark

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8 Type: Bitter, sweet Notes: Bittersweet cocoa, roasted cocoa, wild berries, baked thyme and raisin cookies, nori, dried candied bitter orange peel Quality: Dark, developed, complex

Length 8.5/10

Flavours have a reasonable length and begin to stretch out, subtle length lacks overt roundedness

Finish 9/10

Notes: Baked thyme and raisin cookies, nori, dried candied bitter orange peel Quality: Sweeter, fruitier notes fade towards the end, where herbal bittersweet flavours fill the finish with an almost savoury tone led by dried candied bitter orange peel, with clean lingering flavours of aged spice

Balance 9/10

Roasted notes attempt to take bar off balance, but firm structure and complementary flavours bring flavours back to centre

Overall 9/10 Bar has some depth and a good degree of dimension, complexities are well balanced, structure is consistent, expression is honest but more indicative of roast than origin even with full development


Cacao Sampaka’s Tasting Notes: Authentic cocoa and delicious fantasy combined in a pure state. With a smell and taste of candied citrus fruits, pink grapefruit and sweet oranges.

 

 

 

 

 

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