Fu Wan Taiwan #1 62% 90.5/100

 

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This bar is made with cocoa beans from Taiwan. Once harvested they are turned into chocolate bars by Warren Hsu at Fu Wan resort in Pingtun Country in the country of the cocoa beans origin.

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East of Vietnam and north of the Philippines, Taiwan is of the east coast of China where it grows relatively new crops of cacao. Taiwan hasn’t been growing cocoa for long, so it’s not built up much of a reputation yet and it’s not so close to any of its neighbouring growing countries to really make any assumptions about its flavour. If I were to make an assumption it would probably be that their might be spice flavour elements in the cocoa, as is somewhat common in this area. In general though I’m not really sure what to expect, it’s a new cocoa, from a new origin for me, from a new bean to bar maker. My main hope is that the cocoa distinguishes itself in terms of flavour from other cocoas around Indochina. Opening the packaging I’m presented with a simple, but well produced 5 x 2 ridged square mould with consistent matte gloss finish. Breaking off a piece reveals some distinctive aromas of lemongrass and spice with a caramel and buttery finish. Placing a piece in my mouth the chocolate is milky with a slight glossiness to it with reminds me of tapioca pearls, that turns prickly as the melt proceeds. To taste this chocolate is light and soft presenting strong milky tones throughout, it reminds me of Asian milks, some kind of cross between coconut cream, soy milk and tapioca, a sort of slightly gelatinous, slightly sweet, slightly spicy golden milk. There’s some spice flavours there too, no heat exactly more a prickly spice like Szechuan pepper and cinnamon bark, like they’ve been infused into the milk. The sweetness is light and whiter with a slight golden touch, milky sugar notes with a touch of golden caramel, which leads into these more biscuity notes in the finish. At first the bar is a little underwhelming, if not unusual, but as it progresses it’s clear there’s this underlying complexity and subtly long lingering length that gives the chocolate a fine and delicate feel. This is one for those who like more unusual chocolate expression, or for those that like Asian desserts, or a more delicate and light chocolate that’s more approachable. Best enjoyed with carrot, teriyaki, brandy snaps or semi sweet white wines.

Ingredients: Cacao bean, sugar, cacao butter

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Lighter milky brown
Texture: Smooth, fudgey, light flake
Mould: 5 x 2 ridged squares
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Lemongrass, spice, caramel, buttery
Quality: Grassy, spicey, rich

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Milky, glossy, prickly, tapioca
Quality: Light, soft, tactile, full

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 1
Notes: Lychee
Quality: Milky, soft, rounding

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Milk sugar, sugar syrup, caramel
Quality: Light, lightly golden, soft

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Milky, Szechuan peppercorn, tapioca, cassia cinnamon, oat biscuit
Quality: Soft, balanced, milky, subtly complex

Length 9.5/10

Flavours have a subtly long lingering length that carries, making rounds on peaks of long slow acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Milk, cassia cinnamon, oat biscuit
Quality: Milky flavours make their way from start to end, picking up notes of cinnamon bark and oaty biscuit in the finish leaving savoury, but sweet milk notes to linger

Balance 9.5/10

Bar has a delicate and fine balance that floats along breezily on a medium structure providing plenty of stability, without requiring anchoring

Overall 9/10

Bar has some depth, but has more dimension, good complexity is delicately balanced, structure is consistent and expression is distinctive and honest, with processing seeking to balance flavour with low intervention



Fu Wan’s Tasting Notes:

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