Chocolate of the Day
Madagascar 75% Cacao Fine Selection (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 142.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week.
Today's Madagascar 75% Cacao Fine Selection (bar) was made in Italy by Slitti Cacao Pregiati (Monsummano Terme, Tuscany, Italy).
Most dark chocolate bars I've tasted from Italy (and other countries) have uniform, almost bland, roasted dark chocolate flavor. This is the understandable result when taking high volumes of different cacao(s) from different places (often West Africa), with the goal of blending them into one consistent flavor profile over time. Some bars have some added vanilla, adding a little lift. But, the bars are fairly predictable. So I was curious to see what this single origin Madagascar bar might taste like.
This gluten-free chocolate began with an aroma of uniform baked fudge brownie and chocolate cake...what I'd normally expect.
But then this classic chocolate aroma was quickly joined by some welcome complexity: balanced fermenting cacao fruit (sweet vinegar, brown sugar, fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, cacao pulp)); warm spice (cinnamon); very faint, fleeting green floral (imagined vanilla) and baked sweet bread notes.
The shift--from a scent with uniform chocolate brownie/chocolate cake to one with more noticeable fruit nuances--evolved over a minute or two, after the inner, sealed packaging was opened.
The fruit notes were within the range I associate with Madagascar (Sambirano Valley) cacao-based chocolate(s). (Madagascar cacao is often described as having tart-sweet citrus fruit and berry notes, but may also include concentrated/dried stone fruits such as peach, nectarine, plum, and apricot notes, depending on the cacao varieties and fermentation techniques used.)
In fact, I found myself anticipating tart fruit notes the minute I opened this dark bar, so perhaps I was bound to find them. (This is why blind, side-by-side chocolate tastings can be more enlightening; they help reduce biases we all have--even though these same expectations, based on memories, also make us smile as we encounter "old friends" in tasting experiences.)
The flavor of this bar was uniform, roasted, smooth dark chocolate, with a touch of fruit acidity--initially less citrus (orange/tangerine) and more stewed stone fruits mentioned above with a few red currants popped in for good measure. On the third time I re-tasted this bar there was also a very faint, fleeting dark chocolate + spice/herb note (caraway, rye bread) note.
The chocolate was low in bitterness. It was relatively sweet for a 75% cacao chocolate; but some of that perceived sweetness likely came from natural fruit flavor from the cacao itself. And this chocolate had a clean, subtle chocolate-y finish.
Ingredients: "Cocoa mass Madagascar (Sambirano), sugar, cocoa butter (6%). (Cocoa min. 75%)"