Friday, January 10, 2020

Stone Grindz: Ucayali River, Peru 70%

My goodness, has it really been a year and a half since I last looked at anything from Stone Grindz? I guess that sounds about right; that was around when my life started to get hectic, one of the results being that I wasn't able to go to the farmers market, which was where I had been getting Stone Grindz chocolate. But 2020 is a new year for me, even in terms of chocolate it would seem. So I'm bringing Stone Grindz back.

And I am so happy to be doing so and so proud once again to have this company in the city in which I live. This chocolate bar is wonderful, and it's one of those chocolates that can act as a wake-up if you're starting to lose interest in the whole zone of chocolate. I didn't pay much attention to the details when I bought this 70% dark chocolate sourced in the Ucayali River of Peru. I was honestly just looking at those International Chocolate Awards stickers. Those are no joke; there's lots of competition. So you know, I was curious.

I got more excited when I opened up the packaging to learn that the cocoa beans here essentially have Trinitario ancestry. Trinitario beans are great; they're just delicate and traditionally chocolatey, they're lovely. Then I looked at the chocolate bar and its simple and classy face greeted me warmly. It had definitely been a while since I'd looked a Stone Grindz bar in the eye, so it was a welcome greeting. The chocolate's color isn't as light as it appears in the picture, but it does still have a warm-toned face.  The aroma is of nibs, that intense cocoa feel that they carry.

The flavor is red and warm, with a liquid chocolate taste of smoothness. There is that feeling of sweetness that is more the flavor of the chocolate than of the sugar. I found an almost fruity/buttery flavor and a gentleness that was still strong. Then more chocolate-sweetness came in, and then cocoa flavors that felt milky (in a good way) even though this is dark chocolate. The chocolate finished with a breath, a sigh of gentle goodness.

I called this chocolate smooth, but there is zero plastic smoothness about it. There is zero bitterness. It is so gentle and yet contains such a feeling of depth. This chocolate tastes like who I want to be right now. It's quite feminine and yet lacking in no power. It knows its strength and goes for it full force.

As per my usual approach, I didn't look at the tasting notes until after I'd tasted. They are mocha, cedar, dried cherry, and chocolate. Okay, I definitely got the chocolate. The milkiness I mentioned sounds like it could be the mocha. I said almost fruity because when I say fruity I tend to think of citrus (like chocolate sourced in Madagascar) and I knew that wasn't right. So dried cherries make sense--and they're dried instead of fresh because those have less acidity and more richness, right? As far as the cedar goes, well, I can't say that I pick up any flavors that remind me of cedar; I don't know, I guess I'm just not that talented. Anyway, what I think is more the point about tasting notes for most of us is to just get a general sense of the chocolate. Even if I don't look at the notes and see that I'd written those down, too, I still end up looking at them and saying, oh, okay, yes, that's about the tone of the chocolate that I'd observed.

I'd definitely recommend this bar if you're looking for a chocolate that is both full of depth of high quality flavor and also traditionally chocolate-centered. Those zingy citrusy flavors I was mentioning, for instance, can be fun--but sometimes you just want a bar that tastes most strongly of chocolate. Sometimes those chocolates, though, can end up having less depth of flavor. But this one manages to hit both angles in what I find quite a unique way.

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