Friday, September 12, 2014

David Bacco: Madagascar 64%

You know what I'm going to do? Since I bought two David Bacco chocolate bars, I'm going to wait until I get to the second bar to read more about the company. Sound fair? This way I can look at the chocolate, apart from the company; I like to start that way when I can. 

These two bars were yet another of my purchases from Rust General Store in San Diego--and don't worry, I'm almost done with my San Diego chocolates. I got excited about these expensive white squares because I had never heard of the company, but it looked like it might be worth: it's Fair Trade, it mentions cacao origin and percentage, there are flavor notes on the back, and there are no filler or artificial ingredients. The minimalist design of the card box suggests that the focus is on the chocolate, not frilly packaging. 

That said, I do not like this packaging. You see the back of the card box here? It's sealed with a red sticker, which is where the info about cacao origin, tasting notes, and ingredients is. So to open the box, you have to tear the sticker. Really? That means two things: you tear the words and can't read all of them as well anymore and you can't really close the box again. This may all seem like a minor detail, but to me it's quite annoying. 

The best buy date on this bar is December, so it does have a light coating of bloom. (Why do I always end up with chocolate with bloom?) As you can see, though, it's the kind that brushes right off, so the only thing it really affects is looks. And that is a shame because I like the design on this bar. It looks like a puzzle, with twenty angular pieces of different sizes and shapes all arranged inside the single square. It's like a choose-your-own collection: you can pick a piece you like or easily break one in half if you want something smaller. Visually, it has the right blend between sleekness and fun. 

Out of all the choices available, yes, I chose a traditional Madagascar. The fact is, I like the taste of cocoa from Madagascar and it just seems like a familiar place to begin investigation of a new company. The thing is, it's only 64% cacao; that's fairly low. The seventies are more common. As a result, this chocolate is on the sweet side for a gourmet dark chocolate. I can't help but wish there were less sugar and slightly more focus on the cocoa. 

Specifically, the cocoa beans in this bar are Trinitario and Criollo varieties from the Sambriano Ebene area of Madagascar. The flavor description that David Bacco gives is: "Dried figs, raisins, red fruit, and soft cacao aromas entwined with a sense of fresh figs, wild berries, and roasted hazelnut, finishes with an intent cacao flavor." Was that supposed to be "intense" instead of "intent?" Anyway. The fruity notes listed there are what compose Madagascan origin chocolate and what give it that approachable liveliness. As the chocolate melts, it does give way to a more general chocolate flavor--might I also add that this chocolate melts very smoothly. It's good chocolate and it is worth the high price I paid (which was not the most I've spent, per gram, for chocolate), but I keep wondering if it is missing something. What I keep coming back to is the sweet side to this chocolate bar. It may be that the Madagascar is simply designed to be semisweet, a bridge on the way to darker chocolate. If that is the case, maybe the second David Bacco bar will be more to my tastes. We shall see. 

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