Note: You can read Deanna’s take on Rausch’s El Cuador and Puerto Cabello bars here.
Having already tasted, enjoyed and reviewed the first four lighter blocks of the Rausch Plantagen variety (cocoa solids ranging from 35% Noumean to 47% Costa Rica), it is now time to try the darker four.
These beauties include the 60% ‘Amacado’ from Peru, the 70% ‘El Cuador’ from Ecuador, a 75% from Tobago and a serious 80% ‘Tembadoro’ from Trinidad.
Having just attended an informative and enjoyable Chocolate Appreciation class run by Kirsten Tibbals I decided to try the darkest first. She advises that trying the milder ones mean that the palate gets loaded with sugar and is overwhelmed, making it difficult to taste any other tones in the chocolate. As you can see, there is a noticeable difference in colour, with 80% at the top and 60% at the bottom.
Rightio. The 80% Tembadora from Trinidad in the Caribbean. The cocoa from this area is grown in small plantations, but Rausch are working with the University of the West Indies to continue their work on the world’s largest cocoa genetic database. Nerdy but important. This is a really laid-back dark chocolate without the usual saliva-sucking bitterness that can tend to assail the first taste. Instead, it gives hints of dark, earthy soil, coffee and fine, dusty cocoa. It is dense in texture and slow to melt but a very mild introduction to a chocolate that being 80% is in serious Dark Side territory.
Tobago 75% is a near geographic neighbour of Trinidad, yet the flavours are quite different. Whilst it too is fairly mild for something so dark, it is much drier on the palate – I needed a drink after just one segment, and there was nowhere near the complexity of flavours that Tembadora has. Whilst there is no bitterness, but the overall effect is a bit too gluggy and heavy.
El Cuador 70% is very, very nice. There are a lot of 70% chocolates out there, and this one can stand proudly alongside the best of them. It has a sweet, smoky flavour with hints of wood, dried grasses and tobacco. Can you tell I’ve done a tasting course?
The 60% Amacado is named after the region in Peru that has with nearly 1,000 families growing the cocoa as part of a cooperative. This one tastes remarkably stronger than 60% and that’s meant in a good way – clearly the cocoa is top quality. Of all four, this is the one that melts most easily, allowing some sweetness to emerge and then a whisper of coffee. This is my favourite. Excellent cocoa taste with a generous inclusion of cocoa butter to allow the flavours to come through with bells on.