This bar is made using criollo cocoa beans from the Chiapas region in the very south of Mexico. Once harvested these cocoa beans are shipped to Mexico City where Ana and the Mucho company turn them into one of their Mexican chocolate bars.
I’ve tried some regional cocoa from around Mexico, but I’ve always had the feeling that much like Colombia or Peru, the cocoa has the potential to be quite variable over short distances due to their heritage and the biodiverse environment. Most of the cocoa I’ve tried so far has been from around the Chiapas region or the Tobasco region of Mexico, with both exhibiting fairly different qualities. The cocoa from Chiapas tends to exhibit refined and elegant sunny flavours of citrus and florals with tea like qualities, owing to some of its criollo characteristics, whereas the cocoa from the Tobasco region tends to exhibit dried fruit and smokey tobacco and wood notes, more in line with the chillies produced in that region. Mucho source their cocoa direct from farmers in both the Chiapas and Tobasco regions, so I’d expect most of their bars to fall into one of the two categories, but I’m interested to see if there’s some variability between farms in the regions. This particular cocoa comes from the southern tip of Chiapas and so I’m inclined to expect refined citrus notes in line with my previous experiences, my main hope is that the cocoa distinguishes itself from the Xoconuzco/soconusco varieties that I’ve tried before. Opening the packaging I’m presented with a long thin slab with an ornate cocoa pod design mould. Breaking off a piece reveals some fragrant bitter citrus aromas with notes of honey and white tea. Placing a piece in my mouth the chocolate has a buttery biscuit like texture, it’s a little grainy like a sugary biscuit with a light creaminess about it. To taste this bar is sweet and sunny, citrus fruits mix with sugar and biscuit flavours to make a bittersweet profile that’s easy on the tongue. It reminds me of bergamot tea with honey, those citric qualities mixed with the tannic nature of tea, but balanced by the sweetness of honey. This is a light and refined style of cocoa, that I won’t lie would probably benefit from a smoother mouthfeel and possibly less conching, but it still remains pretty approachable offering a lighter style of cocoa. This is the kind of chocolate best suited to those who prefer the lighter more refined side of things, fans of white and citrus teas. Best enjoyed with brandy snaps, grilled corn, cachaça, coastal white wine or white tea.
Ingredients: Cacao, sugar, cocoa butter
Colour: Lighter milky brown
Texture: Smooth weathered granite, light sandyness
Mould: Ornate cocoa pod slab
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte
Notes: Bergamot, candied citrus, honey, white tea
Quality: Fragrant, lightly acidic, distinctive, little short
Texture: Buttery biscuit, single cream, jaggery
Quality: Firm, little grainy, sugary
Notes: Bitter orange, lemon, bergamot
Quality: Fruity, light, citric
Notes: Candied citrus, honey, jaggery
Quality: Sunny, light, sugary, rounded
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Bergamot, oranges, lemons, shortbread, cinnamon tuile, honey, single cream
Quality: Sunny, bittersweet, light, fruity
Flavours get longer, but don’t have an overwhelming length, rounds come slowly from peaks of fruity sweetness
Notes: Bergamot, honey, single cream, biscuit
Quality: Flavours roll into the finish with the citrus notes becoming slightly bitter and astringent, mixed with a light creaminess and sugary biscuit notes leaving a dry bergamot note to linger
Bar has a simple balance, complementary profile and lighter structure provide a breezy balance with enough anchoring and stability
Bar has a bit of depth, but a touch more dimension, complexities are easily balanced and structure is consistent, expression is honest, but not particularly intense, with processing encouraging but struggling to bring out the individual flavour of these beans.
Mucho’s Tasting Notes: