Spring has finally sprung in London, and along with the change of season we are delighted to welcome a brand new British maker, Aztec Gold.
Aztec Gold founder has spent her life as a globe-trotting chef and restaurateur. When ex-chef Emma moved to Costa Rica, she truly discovered cacao for the first time. Moving back to the UK, Emma made her childhood dream of becoming a chocolate maker a reality. Based in Oxfordshire, Emma is dedicated to making chocolate that is good for you and for cacao farmers.
Crafted using unroasted cocoa beans, sourced from a small-scale cooperative in Peru. A generous bar. The smooth texture and slightly buttery mouthfeel contrasts with the sharp crunch from the nib pieces. Nibs add a wooded intensity but the overall flavour is sweetly vegetal with a green coconut note. A hint of powder on the finish.
Journeying from the new to the old, we bring you a bar from one of France’s most well-established makers. Second generation patissier and chocolate maker Francois Pralus has continued his parents’ work, pioneering an extensive range of single-origin bars and even acquiring his own plantation on Madagascar. Pralus’ Indonesian bar uses only Javan cacao. The trees are descended from the Criollo cacao originally imported by the Spanish the 17th Century.
A classic dark bar from Francois Pralus. A clean snap, smooth melt and buttery mouthfeel begin the tasting. Roasted and gently smoked notes dominate the bar. Subtle hints of citrus fruits and spice lie beneath the surface. Earthy liquorice and candied orange peel appear and dissolve quickly on the tongue.
Skipping accross to Canada, we’ve a new bar from Sirene. After graduating in biology and economics, Taylor Kennedy decided to become a photographer. He spent 18 years photographing, writing and editing for National Geographic before switching directions again and becoming a chocolate maker. Taylor’s stylish twin taster packs were a huge hit when we first introduced them last year. We’re sure this new offering will prove just as popular.
Unwrap Sirene’s unique packaging and discover a tasting pair of single origin dark milks. First the Madagascan. Sugared notes of brown butter mixes with jammy apricots. A faint aroma of summer berries lingers. Next the Guatemalan is creamy with a touch of cooling menthol. The sweet but subtle milky flavour reminded us a little of a panna cotta or creme caramel. A delicate hint of maple syrup on the finish.
Sirene describes the dark chocolate as having a ‘ hint of the feral’ but we think it has more the aroma of adventure.Made using wild cacao grown deep in the Bolivian rainforest. The initial melt is very smooth thanks to a buttery texture. Rich chocolatey flavours have a slightly muddy edge. A spiced note lurks beneath and in turn gives way to coffee and chalk.
Finally journey to the Czech Republic for the latest creation from Jordi’s. The Czech Republic first and only bean to bar maker, Jordi’s crafts its bars in Hradec Králové, 50 miles east of Prague. Its eclectic range encompasses different origins, flavours and even bars using sheep and goat’s milk.
Jordi’s – Dark Milk 65% (Mixed Collection)
Living up to its name, Jordi’s new bar has all the intensity of flavour we would expect from a dark. The milk gives little sweetness but helps to create a rich and creamy chocolate that coats the mouth. The chocolate has a slight tang and as it melts we noticed an earthy hint.
Jordi’s latest single origin bar uses Bertil Akesson’s Madagascan cocoa beans, from his Bejofo plantation. An initial hit of red fruit slowly develops into more citrus notes as the bar melts. The flavour of this smooth bar then evolves and leaves you with a slight earthiness.
And if you really loved the box and want to stock up, you can buy The May 2016 Collection here (Dark Only).