This bar is made using cocoa beans from fair trade cooperatives in India. The bar is manufactured for Waitrose in Switzerland.
I’ve tried a small amount of cocoa from India in general and a number of bars using cocoa from Kerala in particular, but I feel like this bar is more likely to exhibit general Indian flavours. Flavour wise I’ve experience an archetypal and lightly earthy cocoa flavour, with low amounts of dried stonefruit flavours and a tendency towards honey sugar tones, the most present characteristic of Indian cocoa and coffee is the hints of spice, that help to round the flavours out. I’m not necessarily suggesting this is indicative of all Indian cocoa, but given climatic conditions and their sympathetic terroir for spice growing it often seems to be the case. Here I’m expecting something similar, a softer milder cocoa, with a small amount of fruit and spice. My main hope is that this tastes indicative of Indian cocoa and goes further than merely tasting of chocolate. Opening the packaging I’m presented with another of Waitrose’s cocoa pod embossed moulds with a consistent glossy matte finish. Breaking off a price reveals a complex but slightly unrefined aroma of cocoa and vanilla with surrounding notes of cassia cinnamon, caramel biscuit and some dark cherry skins. Placing a piece in my mouth the chocolate begins as a fruit syrup, reduction like which develops into fattier dairy textures of rich cream and thick live yoghurt. To taste this chocolate comes with a contrasting sensation, the cocoa is mild in its approach, but hard in its flavour profile. There’s these fruit flavours of purple plums and red grapes that present themselves like a balsamic reduction, those sweet, acidic, but vinegary tones creating the backbone of the flavour, they’re contrasted by structured cocoa notes providing a strong base and smoothed out slightly by tones of honey and a welcome apricot notes in the finish. This is a cocoa with a distinctive flavour, one that’s individual, but the syrupy nature and uneven balance mean the chocolate can lean to being a bit sickly. This feels like a bar with great flavour potential, one with quality flavour, but in need of being a little less hard in profile. This is a bar for those who like rich distinctive flavours, those who aren’t afraid to take a lot on, some intense flavour without bitterness. Best enjoyed with milk ice cream, honey, gajar halwa, aged gouda or golden rum.
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, ground vanilla pods
Colour: Medium brown, light purpling
Texture: Smooth, light ridged flake
Mould: 5 x 2 cocoa pod segments
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte
Notes: Cocoa, vanilla, cassia cinnamon, caramel biscuit, cherry skin
Quality: Sweet, lightly acidic, metallic
Texture: Fruit syrup, rich cream, thick live yoghurt
Quality: Full, thick, fatty
Notes: Plum, red grape, apricot
Quality: Fruity, mellow, hard, lightly sour
Notes: Plum syrup, honey, balsamic reduction
Quality: Hard, developed, reduced
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Metallic cocoa, plum, balsamic reduction, honey, apricot
Quality: Mild, full, rich fruit, hard
Flavours come on gradually but get longer throughout the melt, lengthy at their peak, making rounds on peaks of fruit notes
Notes: Plum, balsamic reduction, honey, apricot
Quality: Plum notes become harder into the end, more like balsamic reduction and sweetness turns honey before a touch of sour apricot acidity in the finish leaving lingering robust cocoa tones
Flavours are complementary, but don’t sit perfectly, hard profile discourages easy going balance, strong structure does provide some rigidity and stability
Bar has a good amount of depth and some dimension, complexities improve but are unevenly balanced, structure is consistent, expression seems honest, but processing is high intervention creating heavy structure and syrupy feel
Waitrose’s Tasting Notes: Low acidity and bitterness, moderately mild cocoa taste, slight flowery notes with a hint of fruit.