Pierre Marcolini Mexico Finca La Joya 78% 91.5/100


This bar is made using white criollo beans grown by Clara Echavarria at the Finca de la Joya plantation on the Northern coast of Mexico’s Tabasco region. Once harvested these beans are processed by Pierre Marcolini in Belgium before becoming one of their Single Origin chocolate bars.


I’ve tried some Mexican cocoa before, but mostly from the neighbouring Chiapas region with the most similar bar to this one being Chocolat Bonnat’s Xoconuzco. With this bar being made from white criollo beans it has the promise of being of particularly refined character and is no doubt a significant reason why it has made it into Pierre Marcolini’s limited edition series. My expectations would be for a refined cocoa flavour, that has a lot of dimension and nuance, but in which direction I’m not overly sure, known as a region for growing peppers and having tried varying flavours of coffee from this region I’m not overly confident of the flavours this terroir would impart on the chocolate. I’m hoping that the bar lives up to its self-imposed hype and offers something that is both balanced and interesting to go with its refined flavours. Opening the packaging I’m presented with an easily identifiable Marcolini block of 3 x 3 squares and breaking off a piece reveals aromas of intense cocoa with a sweet fruity tobacco tone and notes of brazil nut in the finish, they’re refined and distinctive aromas, ones that I wouldn’t mind in an aftershave. Placing a piece in my mouth, the choclate is quite dense with a firm structure that reveals itself slowly as smoot with a thick cream like consistency. To taste the bar is predominantly subtle and smooth in its approach, it’s fruity but not overly acidic. Its flavours play out as a distinctive and ever present undercurrent that expresses itself from a particularly anchored centre. There’s notes of fig and cherry with some golden sultana towards the finish with a natural sweetness played out through the fruit. Towards the end the bar adds in some soft and fruity wood and tobacco tones with just a touch of smoke. It’s closest to something like a charred oak barrel aged sherry, fruity and sweet, but with a darkened edge. This is an impressive cocoa with great flavour, but I’m curious how it would taste made purely from cocoa beans and sugar in a more rustic craft chocolate manner. There’s no denying the balance and firm structure that gives this bar so much stability despite its fruity and acidic nature. Definitely a chocolate for those who like things of refinement or for those who might be interested in how wild and exciting flavours play out under a structured and balanced approach. Best enjoyed with cask aged sherry, fruity olives, smoked paprika and hard aged cheeses.

Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, Emulsifier: Soy Lecithin

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium to light brown
Texture: Smooth, dry
Mould: 3 x 3 MARCOLINI squares
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Intense cocoa, sweet fruity tobacco, brazil nuts
Quality: Refined, distinctive, deep

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Smooth, thick cream
Quality: Firm, full, dense

Acidity 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Fig, cherry
Quality: Refined, nuanced, balanced

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Ripe fruit, baked sugar, soft honey
Quality: Subtle, balancing, natural

Flavour 9.5/10

Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Fig, cherry, golden sultana, soft woody tobacco, touch of smoke
Quality: Smooth, subtle, nuanced, distinctive

Length 9/10

Flavours are smooth and subtle building a long undercurrent of length, rounds come slowly with peaks of acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Cherry, golden sultana, soft woody tobacco, touch of smoke
Quality: Chocolate remains fruity to the end with soft woody tones taking over the finish with a touch of smoke and smooth lingering fruity chocolate tones

Balance 9.5/10

This bar has a subtle and refined nature with fairly equal levels, which encourages a lot of balance, firm structure provides tonnes of stability and a firm anchoring point for flavour

Overall 9/10


Bar has depth and a good degree of dimension, complexities are firmly balanced, structure is consistent, expression is distinctive and honest, but rigid with processing creating stability and balance, but restricting freedom


Pierre Marcolini’s Tasting Notes: Extremely acidic fruit, balanced. An excellent, lingering aftertaste, probably our most intense chocolate for intellectual connoisseurs.


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