Friday, November 6, 2020

Zak's Chocolate: Belize 70%

The Belize 70% bar I have from Zak's Chocolate came in one of my favorite of their paper patterns (the other would be the green and gold). A pale, pale blue fills in the spaces between the gold shapes. Once you unwrap the paper, you find a classic semisweet chocolate aroma--what I call silvery, which fits well in with the pale blue paper. 

From such a silvery aroma, I had been expecting the chocolate to taste like a gentle, calm breeze. But it came on with a rougher and more heady flavor, more like a mossy wood whose ground is covered by thick fallen logs. I don't mean to use the word rough to imply distasteful; I'm just describing the tone of the taste. You might also perhaps call it more hearty than delicate. That rough flavor develops into a rich, muddy chocolate taste with tender undertones. Again, I don't mean for muddy to sound negative. Mud is nice; it's thick and cooling and full of nourishing moisture. 

The tender notes increase as the chocolate melts, but still maintaining that black/green tone versus warm red tones. The finish is sleek in comparison to the mossy wood that the chocolate begins with. And it leaves a chocolate mouthfeel behind, which is actually fairly unusual.

The tasting notes describe "fruity notes with a honey-like finish." I definitely see the honey finish; that would be what I described as tenderness. Honey is a more sophisticated and detailed way of putting it, certainly. It would also explain why I meant to distinguish this flavor from what I find in other chocolates: honey isn't the most common tasting note. The mossy wood I described doesn't seem to have much kinship with fruity notes. So if these are fruits, I would say they're the deeper kind, as opposed to springy citrus. 

This chocolate is a real adventure. Eating it is like going hiking. It begins with a natural world feel and takes you up up and up to a beautiful and peaceful view--like climbing up a mountain and then looking down on a soft valley. We all have our preferences as far as flavor notes, and I find that this bar is one of my favorites from Zak's. It isn't so much bold in the sense of piles of strong flavor notes or bits of bitterness; it's more that it's angled just slightly differently from the norm. And I often end up liking things that are just a little bit different. 

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