These days, people take one of two approaches to chocolate with me at Christmas time. They either completely give up, assuring me that I probably wouldn’t like the kind of chocolate they’d buy for me (something which is inevitably true), or they rise to the challenge and try to find something a bit more unusual instead. I have a mix of both in my life, but at least a couple have realised that there is one foolproof approach – simply go to Toronto’s Soma Chocolatemaker and get me pretty much anything. Especially a bar of their Dark Fire. That said, this year I got something completely unfamiliar – a bar made with beans from Jamaica.
Part of their more experimental Black Science series of microbatches, the Bachelor’s Hall bar is made with Trinitario beans harvested from an estate of the same name. The label even goes as far as naming the owner of the estate, Mr. Desmond Jadusingh, reinforcing the idea that they aren’t making a huge number of these bars.
It looks a lot like other bars in their range – a nice dark colour and a lovely sheen, but nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd. The beans used have apparently been fermented, then dried and that makes for a bar that could hardly be described as subtle. It starts off with a big bold flavour that is rich with acid and citrus, and just a hint of berries in the background. But that boldness drops away surprisingly quickly for a 70% bar and leaves earthiness but not much else. Not what I expected at all.
As with all single origin bars, there’s absolutely no guarantee that the next batch will taste exactly the same and I can’t help but think that with a little bit of fine tuning, Bachelor’s Hall could deliver on that initial promise. As it stands, it is still a good bar of chocolate but not a great one.