There I was, ready to choose the Madagascar bar, when suddenly I realized that the Madagascar could wait. I've had plenty of Madagascar origin chocolates; not that they're all the same, but I have had plenty of them (because cocoa from Madagascar has all of those wonderful fruity flavor notes). Chocolate sourced from Haiti, though, I see much less often. So today we're looking at the Haiti 70% bar from Zak's Chocolate (I'll get to the Madagascar bar at a later point).
Cheery gold flower shapes blossom out of the red paper that wraps up this bar. The bar itself also has a touch of that redness in it. Though I don't taste any floral notes in the chocolate, the aroma does seem to me to have a floral tone.
Instead of tasting floral, this chocolate tastes, in a way, earthy. In the beginning stages, there is a flavor of either wood or smoke; it seems to be not so biting as smoke, though. That flavor may develop into a slight floral taste for a moment before becoming slightly sweet--specifically that particular type of sweetness that stems from the flavor notes of the cocoa rather than added sugar. Everything grows more tender then, reminding me of grasses somehow; the flavors richen while also staying quite light. The finish is a light, tender hint of tang, and the aftertaste is of warm chocolate.
This is why I call this chocolate earthy: it reminds me of a place in nature. It doesn't taste bitter or too tangy or deep. It's more like water in a quiet pond, cool and clear and welcoming, a mirror or window for you to sit and stare into.
The lightness of this chocolate makes it quite different from other chocolates, and it's that difference from the usual that is drawing me in. Yes, this most definitely is dark chocolate and not milk chocolate but that lightness almost puts in mind more the concept of milk chocolate. The bar's tasting notes, by the way, explain that it "exhibits mild chocolate and light roasted nut flavors." Usually when a chocolate tastes primarily of cocoa, the general feeling is of richness, which has more of a deep than a light tone. So the fact that the cocoa here is so featherlight keeps fascinating me.
This is a chocolate that transports me and makes me think and makes me happy, and it's a chocolate that's easy to keep eating. Maybe I'm just excited to find a chocolate that feels so different from others, or I may have just stumbled on the chocolate that best matches me. Either way, this is another great installment from the Zak's Chocolate line.
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