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.