Monday, March 27, 2017

Madecasse: 92% Dark

Last week I looked at Madecasse's 80% Dark chocolate; this week I'm continuing with their 92% bar. While a 92% cocoa content is almost as high as it gets and can sound intimidating, the concept is exciting given how much I enjoyed the 80% bar. When a company's style of extra dark chocolate matches what I like to taste in chocolate, then I am very fond of 80% and 90% cocoa ranges, probably more so than the standard 70% range.

Same standards as before: heirloom cocoa, fair trade, organic. The cocoa is still sourced from Madagascar. That is, I would imagine this is the exact same chocolate, just with more cocoa and less sugar. The packaging is almost exactly the same; the only difference is a slightly darker shade of purple. If you hold the two chocolate bars next to each other and look closely, then you can see the darker shade of brown on the 92% bar.

Naturally, this chocolate has a deeper taste than did the 80% bar. Immediately you get that blue flavor of cocoa nibs with some bitterness. The bitterness builds; it's a little stronger than what I like. After this you start to get a taste that, in contrast to the bitterness, feels like sweetness; really, though, I think it's just the fruity flavor notes of the cocoa. Those flavors coax you along past the halfway point, letting you get past the bitterness. The chocolate then becomes more mellow; the texture is also creamier and softer by this stage. There is an undertone of a bitter tang, something like the bitterness of an orange peel. But the top notes are sweeter, more like berries. A chocolate richness comes through as each layer of chocolate melts. The bitterness comes in frequently, fading away again and then returning. The chocolate finishes gently but not really with any new flavors.

Can you tell that I definitely, in this case, prefer the 80% bar?

Rather than enhancing the flavors of the 80% bar, the higher cocoa content of the 92% bar obscures them. It's harder for me to connect with this chocolate because its flavor isn't just deeper; it's more bitter. I don't mind very dark chocolate and I don't mind a tang of bitterness as a flavor accent, but I do mind strong bitterness that overwhelms the other flavors. For what I would call a very bitter bar of chocolate, this one was certainly more edible than others I've had (looking at you, Bonnat). I can eat it; I just prefer not to, especially when I still have more of the wonderful 80% bar.

That means that my conclusion is this: this isn't bad chocolate. I just don't like it for eating chocolate. I'm going to keep it for using in recipes; I know it'll be great for that (I never buy baking chocolate; I don't really understand why baking chocolate exists to begin with). I was hoping to fall in love with a second bar of chocolate, but I suppose two was just a tad too much to ask for.

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