Wednesday, September 17, 2014

David Bacco: Guanaja 80%

I'm kind of upset with myself that I didn't check the best by dates on the two David Bacco chocolate bars I bought in San Diego. The Madagascar (click here for that review) had a date in December and this one is marked for Halloween. That is, a month and a half away. (Okay, that was an additional month or so ago that I bought the chocolate, but still.) I really wish I could have tasted this chocolate in its prime instead of here towards the end of its life. 

Last time I said I was waiting until I got to the second bar to read more about the company. As it turns out, their website has very little information. It's more David Bacco's resume than information about the company and the chocolate. He has quite a background in the culinary world, working with desserts, pastries, candies, and chocolates. But I'm left wondering why he had David Bacco Chocolats from 2008 to 2010 before beginning David Bacco Chocolatier later that year; maybe those were the different names for the shops, but the company is essentially still the same? 

His background working with desserts explains why I liked the chocolate bar design: desserts are very much about presentation and beauty. But when I am set with a high-end chocolate bar, I want to know about how it is made and how it comes together. Sure, these bars say they're Fair Trade and the cacao origin is provided, but at least on the website I want to hear more about the plantations where the cacao is grown and the factories where the chocolate is conched and refined and molded. 

But let us return to the chocolate and its taste, apart from what I do or don't know about the company. Once again, there is some light, ignorable bloom, which remains on only half of the bar. The other half was somewhat stuck to the clear wrapper, which must have removed the bloom. I find myself strangely fascinated by the combination of light and dark, the pale white against the rich brown, all set in these wonderful triangular shapes. 

This second bar of mind is the Guanaja 80%, which comes with this label: "Cherry-floral-cacao aromas lead to deep, rich cocoa, tobacco and leather notes, release bitter cocoa, and black coffee-molasses notes, with a hint of red fruits ending on a bitter and tannic finish." I know these kinds of labels are called flavor notes, but aren't those a little too many commas and a little too many clauses falling on clauses? I'm getting distracted again. 

At 80% cacao, this is the type of chocolate that some people will find too dark and that I usually have to have two pieces of before I can begin to taste it properly. It tastes bitter at first, but once your mouth is used to it, it tastes rich and even gentle. Like the Madagascar bar, the Guanaja also melts at a nice and slow pace, very smoothly without any graininess. But I'm not sensing as great a depth of flavor notes as the label suggests. The type of flavors given make sense: it is deep and rich and red. But usually when a chocolate gets into this high of a cocoa percentage, the reward is a complex layering of flavor (unless it is a badly made chocolate where all you taste is bitterness). And I'm just not sure that I'm getting that here. 

It's the same story as with the Madagascar. This is a good chocolate. I'm enjoying it. It delivers quite a pure, in depth experience of cocoa flavor. I would much rather have a couple of triangles of this chocolate than many a flourless chocolate cake I've had. And I would much rather have a bar of this chocolate than many another bar of chocolate I've had. While I think I wanted to enjoy these David Bacco bars more, they're not bad and this one certainly is better suited to my tastes. It's rich in chocolate without falling into either intense sweetness or bitterness.

9pc Box Assorted Chocolates by David Bacco Chocolatier

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