If you read my recent review of Pierre Marcolini’s Los Ríos bar, you will know how sad I was when the last piece was eaten. My sadness was tempered somewhat by the arrival of this little beauty – a remarkably similar bar from Pacari.
Pacari have become something of a Chocablog favourite in recent years, not just because of their organic bean-to-bar & social responsibility credentials but because of the fantastic flavours they have managed to coax out of their Arriba Nacional cacao beans. In fact it’s safe to say that I had very high hopes for this bar due to it being organic.
Pacari’s bars aren’t made in fancy moulds. They have an elegant simplicity which really shows off the chocolate. Slit open the foil wrap and slide the bar out and you can see the deep reddish-brown hue of the chocolate. Sniff it and there’s the promise of deep, rich flavours with hints of woody overtones, red berries and exotic fruit. Pop a square into your mouth and allow it to melt slowly and those flavours come rushing out to greet your palate.
With a good level of acidity to set the mouth watering, the flavours of the Arriba Nacional beans just keep coming. However, the flavours are a bit of a jumble, with earthy, dark notes colliding with hints of fruit, berries, caramel and a touch of roasted coffee. It has a good melt, but that is due to the amount of cacao butter used. The finish is slightly tart and doesn’t hold for as long as one might expect.
Rather than being a refined bar which showcases the Arriba Nacional bean, Pacari have created a bar which would go well with a good strong espresso or which might make a fine tasting chocolate mousse. The slightly chaotic flavours and undertones of dark bitterness won’t be to everyone’s tastes (I actually rather liked it, but did end up making a coffee to go with it) but it hints at greatness. Perhaps if Pacari work on this one a little longer it might well reach the heights of greatness that it seems to suggest.