Here’s something interesting from our favourite Belgian bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Pierre Marcolini.
It’s a single origin block of 70% dark chocolate from Cameroon. The first time we’ve reviewed any single origin chocolate from this West African country. The beans grown in this part of Africa are often of the Forastero variety and generally end up in bulk confectionery products rather than fine chocolate. Because they don’t always have the interesting flavour notes of other bean varieties, it’s unusual to see African beans in a product like this.
The beans used in this bar are form a small (2 hectare) plantation and grown exclusively for Marcolini. That means that the chocolate maker can influence how the beans are treated from the tree all the way to the bar, and the finished product is much more likely to get the very best from the beans.
Marcolini has also chosen to add cocoa nibs to this bar to add a little extra flavour and texture, but everything is from the same plantation. It’s a chocolate with only three ingredients – cocoa beans, sugar and soy lecithin.
The chocolate has an intense aroma that fills the air the moment you unwrap it.
The flavour is equally intense. It’s fruity and woody with a slightly acidic edge, a little like wine. The cocoa nib pieces enhance those notes as well as adding a great texture to the bar. It’s not sweet, but that’s just the way I like it.
Had I not known that this is a simple African Forastero, I probably wouldn’t have believed it, simply because it’s so interesting. It’s not my favourite chocolate in the world, but I like it a lot and it certainly shows how the skill of the chocolate maker can enhance the flavour of any cocoa. I found the bar disappeared very quickly – perhaps more quickly than is entirely healthy!
Marcolini ship throughout Europe and you can buy this bar from their online boutique (link below). I highly recommend giving it a try.