Oialla Wild Bolivian

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on April 17 2012 | Leave A Comment

Now here’s something a little bit special – chocolate made from Criollo beans harvested from trees which can be traced back for almost a thousand years, making them genetically about as old as it’s possible to get. As it says on the box lid, ‘pure and wild’, and the ten pieces of chocolate in this rather lovely (and very Scandinavian looking) box are about as pure as you’re going to get, being made of nothing more than cacao and sugar. It’s also worth noting that this chocolate won a Silver at the Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2011.

Before you get to the chocolate you are presented with a fact sheet. As I unfolded this rather extensive piece of paper I was reminded of Ordnance Survey maps or old record sleeve inserts – the thing just kept expanding! It tells the story of the meeting between Rasmus Bo Bojesen and Marcela Baldivieso and the subsequent exporting of beans from Bolivia and the benefits to local villagers. You also get a few reviews and some artwork to enjoy while you lift the lid and admire the neatly arranged, individually wrapped 5g tablets of chocolate that await your pleasure.

So how does the grandmother of all cacao taste, I hear you ask? My answer would be ‘chocolatey’. With a straight 70-30 split between cacao and sugar the first taste is sweet, and then as the chocolate melts the depth of flavour from the beans unfurls over your palate. The smell of this chocolate hints at fruity, hazelnut flavours, and this is largely borne out when tasting. There’s a good dose of red berries in there, with a light, floral top note that lingers to the finish. The mouthfeel is slightly grainy but not in an unpleasant way. Think of it as part of the earthiness of the overall taste experience. The finish is woody with a hint of spice, and very pleasant.

That said, I do think that for a premium price (and believe me, this is a premium chocolate) I would have expected more from Oialla. When I said that it tasted ‘chocolatey’ that’s what it does. There are flavours lurking in the depths, but they never really get to burst forth in the way that manufacturer’s like Duffy Sheardown seem to do. If I were looking to pay top price for chocolate I would expect something impressive, memorable – exceptional, and I’m afraid Orialla didn’t quite come up to that standard.

Finally, here’s our interview with Rasmus Bojesen at last year’s Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

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Comments On This Post

  1. I haven’t tasted either but I would definitely like to try any thing with Criollo.

  2. I hope you didn’t have to pay. At $135 for 50g of chocolate is the most expensive stuff I’ve heard of.

  3. Ron P.

    Chocablog, please do some homework instead of reciting promotional marketing. These cocoa beans are not genetically Criollo. There are good online resources now that have already reviewed this bar and that have good info about cacao types.

    Additionally, I never thought I’d hear someone object to “chocolatey” flavor. How many bars contain only cocoa and sugar and taste purely “chocolatey”? Far fewer than you think.

  4. Ron P.

    Please explain, Dom, what you mean by “getting out more”.

    As for “it’s just a chocolate review”, thanks for putting it in perspective. But I read here & there about really good chocolate being “like fine wine” and I never hear wine connoisseurs say “it’s just wine”.

    • Dom (Chocablog Staff)

      We’re well aware of the issues surrounding the use of the word ‘criollo’ and the endless genetic variations of cacao. I take the view that the word is used here in a more colloquial sense.

      As Simon says, we’d probably take you more seriously if you weren’t so rude.

  5. Ron

    You seem to have taken it upon yourself to act as some sort of naysayer, passing judgement on reviews and being hyper critical. Perhaps you’d care to tell us more about yourself and put into perspective what qualifies you to be so rude?

  6. Ron P.

    Please excuse me if I came off rudely. I’m just trying to shine a light on truth, if that is ever possible. Sometimes the facts, messy as they may be, get in the way of politeness.

    My qualifications, Simon, are probably the same as yours: I have none, other than eating lots of chocolate. When someone says they are an “expert” at this or that, take it with a grain of salt because the deeper one gets into almost any subject, the more one figures out that there is so much more to learn and know. Great minds from Plato to Einstein understood this.

    Maybe Zen Master Linji summed it up best: if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

    Now can we get to the substance of the issues? For starters, Dom’s comment about criollo “I take the view that the word is used here in a more colloquial sense”.

    I take that means “native”. So can we now accept that any native cocoa can be labeled “criollo”? Does this also mean that some non-colloquial criollo in Venezuela is not criollo because it may have been transplanted from Central America? Or is criollo now just marketing hype? The very name has a reputation, something that sells well. Where do we draw the line?

    Respectfully yours,
    Hopelessly Confused

  7. Having just tasted this chocolate (Boss brought me one from a meeting today), I have to say that the pureness of the chocolatey feeling you describe in the text above in itself was a wonderful feeling. Being somewhat of a “self educated connoisseur”, I’d have to admit that this is a chocolate, I’d gladly pay the extra buck or two for, and not a chocolate, I’d share with just anyone.

    Three of these and a wide finger of Cardhu in a tumbler, and I’ll be quiet for the next half hour.

    Cardhu because it’s probably the only single malt I know, that’s equally pure in taste.

    • simon

      Hello Morten,

      I just wanted toi thank you for you kind comments. I try very hard to convey as much as I can about how something tastes, and knowing that I got it right makes it all worthwhile.

  8. I think you nailed it pretty spot on, although I don’t quite agree that this taste isn’t memorable. I think it is – but that is, of course, a matter of personal taste.

    I just saw on their website, that you can buy a 1/1 lb. block of this chocolate for just shy of USD 40. In my book that is amazingly good value for money. Now all I have to do is figure out who is to have a seriously tasty Xmas present this year :-)

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