Hot chocolate at night is completely different than it is in the morning. In the morning, it is thicker and more chocolatey. In the evening, it is milkier and creamier. In the morning, it is snuck in as a breakfast beverage. In the evening, it is an accepted and cozy drink. My point in all of this is that the same food tastes different at different times of day. Having heard years ago that the palate is at its ideal state for tasting in late morning and in the evening (around 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM, if my memory serves me, which I can't guarantee), I always taste chocolate for the first time around 11:00 or so.
And so that was how I approached the Guatemala Monte Grande bar from Zak's Chocolate. It was a pleasant chocolate. But when I went to it again another day at close to 8:00 PM, I found a slightly different edge to it. So rather than simply describe this chocolate as usual, today I'd like to explore the two takes.
In the late morning, I found a rich and deep aroma to the chocolate. I found a somewhat sweet, almost malty kind of taste to it--the flavor notes describe "roasty, creamy raspberry notes," so perhaps this was the roasty element. Richness came to join the sweetness along with a spritziness that I described as dried cherry, which is pretty along the same lines as raspberry. The finish and aftertaste were gentle and warm.
In the evening, though, I found a hint towards bitterness in the first stage of melting. And the fruit/berry note was more pronounced. Instead of being so gentle, this time it had, as I mentioned, more of an edge. So is the tone sophisticated or daring? Hmmm, perhaps a bit of both? Alcohol has sting to it, but it is considered a sophisticated image to picture pouring a glass of liquor whilst sitting in a home library with leather chairs.
It's like the same flavor that I want to call sweet is also the one that, viewed from another angle, can be called slightly bitter. What is creamy is also tart. What is gentle is also bold. And that duality is exactly why this chocolate is so intriguing to use to explore flavors at different times of day. Try that with something simply-flavored (like hot chocolate) and you'll just get random ramblings. But try it with something like this and you really have an opportunity to compare and contrast those flavors. At one point, it might be gentle, and then at another it'll be tangy.
However you approach it, this is another wonderful bar from Zak's.