Change of domain…

Dear friends,

Thank you for visiting my blog. It has been a great adventure to start my review site and discover the world of fine chocolate. Since traffic is booming and I started giving tasting sessions, I decided to switch to my own domain.

The entire content of this blog has been moved to

I won’t post no longer here, all the new content will be published on the new domain. However the content will remain visible.

So follow me as of this date on my new domain, you are more than welcome!

Kris Kellens

Preview: Marou – Dắk Lắk 70% (*****)

During the last edition of the Origin Chocolate event I had the enormous privilege of tasting the brand new bar created by Marou. It was so new they didn’t even have artwork for a new wrapper yet.

Samuel Maruta offered me a bar of this new origin as a sample for my blog. I simply can’t thank Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou enough for this opportunity!

Marou is a pretty special chocolate company. There are plenty of creative and adventurous chocolate makers around. Actually it is a lot of fun to follow the facebook and twitter acounts of many of them to discover the crazy situations these chocolatiers get themselves into while using old equipment or experimental techniques. But Samuel and Vincent take it just that extra step beyond. They decided to create the chocolate in the country where the cacao they use is grown. Vietnam!

So, we have two clever French guys having the best time they can have in an exotic country like Vietnam, pulling all sorts of stunts to get their hands on fine cacao and create chocolate with it. It does include riding and elephant and cruising around the countryside in a classic old school Citroen vehicle. But don’t be fooled, when it comes to the quality of chocolate they create, they are dead serious! Just like their fellow small-scale fine chocolate makers .

Marou Dak Lak  Marou Dak Lak

Even while this wasn’t a finished product yet, Marou always brings its bars in style. A shiny gold foil protects the bar, marked by a simple looking label. A hand written one that is! Stating the origin Dắk Lắk – situated in the central highlands of Vietnam, bordering Cambodia. Vincent and Samuel went great lengths to find that one farmer that could deliver them a high quality, aromatic cacao. The origin is pretty different from the others they used so far and during the Origin Event in Amsterdam they were looking for reactions from the audience on the flavor.

The chocolate itself is stunning like every other Marou bar. They always seem to squeeze the specific flavors from a region from the cacao beans, making every bar distinctly different from the next. The aroma coming from the freshly opened chocolate is overwhelming. The chocolate shines beautifully. The traditional Marou bar design means you get a thick, hefty 100 g bar, scored diagonally. It will break the way it sees fit, not in prefect a rectangular piece – as if to state Marou doesn’t follow any of the classic rules in chocolate making. And we should be thankful for it.

Marou Dak Lak  Marou Dak Lak

Bean: Trinitario
origin: Vietnam – Dắk Lắk Province
Maker: Marou, Faisseurs de Chocolat – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Price: Sample bar – 100 g

Marou Dak Lak
Color: A nice deep brown with red hue.

Aroma: Strong. Sweet and slightly spicy, tropical warm with a touch of tobacco in the back.

Taste: Semi quick starting with roasted bread followed by a strong brown sugar aroma. Gently turning over to liquorice with small twinkles of acidity and bitterness popping up to keep the aroma interesting and ever-changing. Did I just detect anise for a second? A deep and very satisfying chocolate flavor comes forth next. Near the end of the melt gentle wood aromas give body to the entire experience without overpowering the palate. The aftertaste follows the main aroma of the Dắk Lắk bar, slowly turning to volatile cacao, wood and faint spice aromas. The aftertaste keeps rolling and rolling in your mouth for an exceptional long time. The melt of the chocolate is great for such a thick bar, even as it is a bit dryer in appearance than French style chocolate. Unlike the other Marou chocolates I’ve tried so far, this bar doesn’t feature the nice, abundant spice tones and isn’t fruity at all, yet it delivers such an amazing warm and gratifying chocolate flavor, I would call it the ultimate comfort food on a dark, rainy day! It will be taking your mind miles and miles away to a warm and exotic Vietnam. 5 stars!

So in a nutshell, Samuel and Vincent, it would be a crime not to take this bar to the shops! That’s a bar of pure gold you gave me!

Review: Akesson’s Madagascar – 100% Criollo (*****)

Today we go red. There is no room for compromises. Today is 100% chocolate!

Akesson is The name in the fine chocolate world when it comes to Madagascan cacao. Bertil’s Ambolikapiky plantation produces some of the finest cacao around and countless bean-to-bar chocolate makers use his cacao to create their masterpieces.

But Akesson also produces their own chocolate. Their cacao and vision combined with the craftmanship of a leading French fine chocolate maker, create some spectacular chocolate. So I had pretty high expectations about the content of the little red box lying in front of me.

Akesson's 100% criollo

The box turns away from the classical dark grey box with red text – so typical for the Akesson line. This time the box is vibrant red. As if you already know this isn’t a normal chocolate. 100% is about as hardcore as it gets. The color also reminds me of the typical red fruits you’ll find in quality Madagascan origin chocolate.

Inside, a cellophane foil and a glorious little square of dark chocolate. Ripping open the foil means releasing an amazing deep chocolate aroma. The bar design itself is still one of the most minimalistic and pure to be found in the origin chocolate world. Sleek and luxurious looking.

Akesson creates this single plantation chocolate from pure Criollo beans – the top quality produced. A mere 2 tons of Criollo cacao is produced on this estate in the Sambirano Valley. Knowing the total yield of the plantation is about 300 tons Trinitario, you’ll understand this is a pretty exclusive cacao.

Bean: Criollo
Origin: Madagascar – Ambolikapiky Plantation
Maker: Produced in France
Price: € 5,00 – 60 g

Akesson's 100% criollo  Akesson's 100% criollo

Color: Dark, dark dark brown

Aroma: surprising sweet and sour, fruity – roasted nuts pop up – deep chocolate.

Taste: This bar has a nice roasted start concentrating on a nutty flavor, slowly maturing in the full body of a high percentage cacao with gentle but noticeable bitterness. On the tip of the tongue, little sweet, red fruit twinkles develop, while the chocolate remains very powerful in the back of the mount with earthy aromas including coffee and a delicate chestnut flavor. The chocolate certainly bites at the tongue, but never as aggressive as other 100% bars I’ve tried. If you breathe in some air while tasting, the fruit flavors open up in an abundant way. Red currants, raspberry and sour cherry come to mind. It is in fact by far the most palatable 100% bar I had so far and I love how it still reveals the fruity aromas of the Madagascan terroir. The aftertaste brings back the glorious roasted coffee and hazelnut tones and lingers in the mouth for a very long time. Chocolate in abundance all around. The longer the aftertaste floats around in your mouth, the more balanced it becomes, until you have this very satisfying chocolate aroma remaining. And it just keeps going. Texture and melt of the chocolate are superb, following the French tradition in chocolate making. By adding just the right amount of cacao butter, you get a super velvety melt. People who want to try a high percentage bar which still retains the wonderful flavors of fine cacao are in for a treat! This chocolate offers all the maturity of a pure 100% chocolate, while keeping the experience enjoyable. To me it is worth the full five stars!

Chocolate art!

There are times when words only can say so much. This time I let the pictures do the talking. This wonderful chocolate figurine was created in honor of “Sinterklaas”, a traditional day for children in Belgium, Holland and Hungary. Sinterklaas brings chocolate and toys to kids who behaved well last year. Figurine made by Hilde Devolder Chocolatier – Ghent.

KKBTB141206-5  KKBTB141206-1
KKBTB141206-2  KKBTB141206-3

Review: Republica Del Cacao – Comunidad Vinces 75% (***)

The good thing about inspiring people with fine chocolate, is that they can surprise you in unexpected ways. A lady who attended one of my tastings is active in the import/export business and when she went on a trip to South America recently, she brought back some fine chocolate she decided to share with me. This way I received a partial bar by Republica Del Cacao from the Vinces Community in Ecuador.

The company has set the goal of putting Latin American chocolate back on the world map by creating fine chocolate from regionally grown cacao, produced into chocolate in their Quito factory in Ecuador. By putting sustainability, traceability and tradition high on their list of attention, their wide array of origin bars ride the wave of fine chocolate makers around the globe. By combining local quality cacao with European knowledge in chocolate making, they might be on to something.

The Vinces community produces Arriba cacao – One of the only Forastero cacao varieties which can be labeled as fino di aroma cacao. Forastero typically is a bean used for industrial bulk chocolate, but Arriba has a much more refined taste – allowing chocolate makers to make wonderful bars based on this cacao.

KKBTB141207-2 KKBTB141207-1

The package is filled to the brim with information, stating about the company’s mission and why this bar we are holding is special compared to classic chocolate bars. The logo clearly gives it a traditional look.

Inside, the bar is made out of pretty large square pieces of chocolate, perfectly embossed with the type of cacao and the origin. Novel idea. The design fits superbly with the sleeve and makes it look good. The chocolate itself is super dark in color and hits the senses with a delicate floral aroma.

Bean: Arriba (Forastero)
Origin: Vinces Community – Ecuador
Production: Confiteca CA – Quito, Ecuador
Price paid: gift – 100g – received from a friend

KKBTB141207-3 KKBTB141207-4

Color: Dark, dark brown – almost black.

Aroma: Floral notes, hints of tobacco and wood.

Taste: A quick, earthy and sweet start with hints of vanilla and delicate flower notes (jasmin like) combined with a touch of brown sugar. Next comes a gentle coffee bitterness and touches of tannins giving it a bit more power. The melt is super quick and smooth, but not clingy at all. Yet I feel as if a bit too much cacao butter has been used, mellowing down the taste profile. Overall the taste is harmonious, but less pronounced than other chocolate bars around. The aftertaste is very subtle, offering a very deep chocolate flavor, but remains very gentle – after quiet a while you notice some nice smoked wood and chocolate aromas lingering on. This is a very enjoyable chocolate, quiet different from the bars I tasted before. It is gentle in nature, but grows on you as you savor on.

Maybe the European style of chocolate making is what holds it back a little. I can sense a big potential in the bar, but going for the silky texture may inhibit the delicate aroma’s of the cacao to come forth. I wonder how this bar would taste if Republica Del Cacao chose a more “American” artisan style to create the bar. A bit rougher around the edges perhaps, but possibly also more intriguing taste wise.

You can safely introduce any unknowing person into the world of fine chocolate with bars like this one. A perfect place to start your exploration of a wonderful world of taste!

Improvised review: Bovetti Equateur – Ghana – Papouasie 73% (*)

All in all I consider myself a pretty lenient person. Especially when I talk about chocolate, I tend to look for the best in every bar a chocolate makers creates. But there are times I become so disappointed. Sadly, last monday was such a day.

While going on a 7 hour road trip to Lyon, France – my boss who traveled with me – noticed a display of French Bovetti bars in a shop. As he knows I’m into good chocolate he convinced me to buy a bar to see if it is any good. He got himself a 38% milk bar. We both looked forward to a little moment of chocolate delight, while turning back to the highway. But just after the first bite we looked at each other and asked ourselves: where is the taste?

 KKBTB141205-1   KKBTB141205-2

I have to admit the bar is looking great. The bar stands out from generic chocolate packages. It even states an origin and the chocolate itself shines beautifully, while an embossed logo on the pieces gives it a certain luxurious look.

73% can be such a wonderful percentage and while I noticed Ecuador, Ghana and Papua New Guinea I still thought it could be tasty. After all, Soma chocolate already showed me a blended bar can be a delightful aromatic experience.

But then comes the aroma and taste… or rather, the lack of it. I was godsmacked that such a pristine looking bar – sold at about € 5 – could be so… bland. There is no other word for it. I expected roasted aroma’s, maybe some fruity vibrations, smoky cacao…. but nothing. Even the deep chocolate, hard roasted flavor of dark bulk chocolate is missing. Abundant cacao butter makes for easy melting but tasteless bar. The “Pur beurre de cacao – pure cacao butter” imprint on the package could be considered a warning.

And it makes me sad. Because I wished it would have been good.

The 38% milk chocolate was even worse. The only thing I could compare it to is a “chocolate” bar know as Koetjesreep in Holland and Belgium. Basically it’s not a chocolate as it has less than 35% cacao in it and lots of other ingredients. And this high-end looking bar tasted just the same. Sad really.

Simply because I was so shocked by the actual taste, I decided to write about it. So you will forgive me the photo quality – shots taken with my smart phone in a hotel room under artificial light.

This is a prime example of an industrial bulk product repacked in a fancy wrapper to make it better than it really is and it stands as far away from real chocolate as it possibly can.

Maybe in the end I should be glad I tried it. Because now I have a renewed respect for real artisan chocolate makers, who create wonderful chocolate oozing with exciting flavors. Just the thing that makes my heart skip a beat.

Review: Chocolate Naive – Madagascar 85% (***1/2)

After an annoying two-week cold including a blocked nose, things finally cleared up so I can enjoy craft chocolate to the fullest again. About time, because I have a massive amount of bars waiting to be reviewed.

Today we return to my favorite origin. Madagascar. Naive provided me with this gorgeous looking 85% bar, made from Criollo cacao from the Ambolikapiky plantation in Madagascar… By now I understand the better part of all the quality cacao from this region originates from this plantation owned by Akesson’s. It is great fun to discover the different approaches of the different chocolate makers when they use this cacao. The results are so different it is hard to believe they all use the same cacao. It really shows how a chocolate maker has a great influence on the final taste.

Naive, based in Lithuania, by far a renowned country for chocolate, already succeeded in dazzling me with their products. The Dark chocolate with forest honey (also using Madagascan cacao) never ceases to impress me. It is that good.

So it is with great expectations that I turn my attention to the bar on my table.

KKBTB231114-1   KKBTB231114-2

The 30 gram bar looks modern and minimalistic. A dark band gives away we are dealing with an extra dark chocolate, the 85 percentage dominates the wrapper. I especially appreciate the extra info spread around to give you an instant idea of what lies ahead. A Madagascan, medium roasted criollo bar. Sounds divine to any chocoholic. Medium roasted means a lot of the inherent flavors of the cacao are preserved and should be detectable in the final product.

Open the package and you will find a thick silver foil hugging the bar itself. Out comes a piece of chocolate of perfect size. Not to big, just the right thickness and my oh my, does it smell amazing. But first take a look at all those perfect little rectangular pieces, deep and shiny. This little bar of chocolate takes my mind immediately to the Pacari bars.

Bean: Criollo
Origin: Ambolikapiky plantation  – Madagascar
Production: Naive Chocolate – Parapijoniskes – Lithuania
Price paid: sample – 30g

KKBTB231114-3   KKBTB231114-4

Color:A wonderful light brown, touching the color of a dark milk chocolate with the typical Madagascan red hue.

Aroma: warm, powerful and surprising sweet, tobacco,toasted bread and a hint of red fruit.

Taste: The chocolate starts medium quick and lets the Madagascan fruits pop from the very start. They actually took my by surprise. Lots of red currant and raspberry followed by pretty intense earthy flavors reminding me of raw cocoa. Every swirl of the tongue releases a new wave of fruits, followed by a woody interlude before jumping over to the earthy flavors and a remarkable fresh farmer’s cheese tartness. The texture is fresh and light on the palate. Not buttery at all, meaning Naive wasn’t tempted to calm down the powerful taste by adding too much cacao butter. It melts like a charm and releases a final warm vanilla tone before it is gone. The aftertaste carries on the earthy notes, is slightly smoky and reveals a nice cacao aroma and the reminiscence of the berry flavors. I’m impressed by the leap in texture Naive achieved compared to the bars I tasted before.

This chocolate has a pretty high percentage of cacao and certainly doesn’t go for an easy and mellow taste. You get the full power of cacao, rich and intense – combined with the typical Madagascan fruity acidity. It has the potential to scare of people who are used to the sweet industrial chocolate and try this without knowing what to expect, but you should definitely give it a try to experience wild and untamed Madagascan-origin chocolate!

Review: Willie’s Cacao – Venezuelan Gold – Las Trincheras 72% (****)

Today we go back to the real Willie Wonka of the Artisan Bean-to-Bar scene – Willie Harcourt-Cooze creates his magic with odd, vintage machines and has the wonderful madness of a truly passionate chocolate maker in his eyes. In his ongoing mission to learn the Brits – and the rest of the world while he’s at it – how proper chocolate tastes, he creates bars with cacao from so many wonderful cacao regions.

Today we have a Venezuelan cacao bar – Las Trincheras. Venezuela is home to many of the most renowned cacao terroirs and can deliver the highest quality of cacao. Willie selected Trinitario cacao from a single estate, Hacienda Las Trincheras to create this bar. Intriguing enough, I will be able to compare it to the smooth Trincheras bar made by Rószavölgyi I reviewed before.

KKBTB141102-1  KKBTB141102-2


As always, Willie offers his bars in neat rectangular pieces, inside a wonderful little box – almost looking like a jewelery case. Inside, the same golden foil protecting the chocolate.

On the back, a little more info is given on the cacao origin and tasting notes – rich, nutty and smooth.

Bean: Trinitario
Origin: Las Trincheras – Venezuela
Production: Willies’s Cacao Ltd – Uffculme – UK
Price paid: € 3,5 – 50g

KKBTB141102-3  KKBTB141102-4

Color: A nice deep brown with just a smidge op purple… always a good sign

Aroma: Chocolaty, brown sugar, toast and a bit of wood

Taste: the bar opens slowly with a smoked touch followed by a whiff of toasted hazelnuts. Subtle yet clear sweetness arises before a very gentle yellow fruit profile builds. Yellow raisin comes to mind. Underneath a bit more power is generated by a very moderate espresso tone. Finally, the chocolate melts with another burst of subtle fruits, a little more pungent this time. The aftertaste is very chocolaty in nature and keeps lingering around in the mouth for quiet a while. All in all, this bar offers a very smooth and satisfying chocolate without brisk flavor changes. And it is perfectly in line with the Rószavölgyi bar, which offered just a little more spices.

It is simply a great piece of chocolate! To be enjoyed to the fullest!

Origin Chocolate Event 2014 – Amsterdam Holland

On saturday 25th of October, this years edition of the Origin Chocolate Event was held at the Tropical Institute in the heart of Amsterdam.

It is The Event about chocolate close to me, gathering countless chocolate makers with a deep passion for their product and us, the audience wanting to learn more about the chocolate we love so much. The program of the day is packed with presentations and tasting sessions, combined with a market place in the central hall, where you can taste more chocolate and chocolate related products.

One can attend all the presentations he desires, but unfortunately you can only attend two tastings. My wife and I selected Marou and Amma, as we both are fond of their products and want to know more about the people behind the bars.


Marou + Madécasse presentation

Samuel Maruta (Marou) and Brett Beach (Madécasse) both presented their company, terroirs and specific chocolates. Off course chocolates were passed around the room, showing clearly the difference between Vietnamese and Madagascan chocolate. A nice start of the day.

KKBTB141025-2  KKBTB141025-30

Samuel Maruta + Brett Beach (far right)

Marou tasting

Immediately after the presentation, we moved to on of the tasting rooms where Samuel Maruta took us a bit deeper into the world of Marou. Samuel sure took me by surprise by recognising me in the crowd and promptly requested me to explain how one should properly savour chocolate, as in his own words: he’s more about making and eating chocolate. Brilliant man.

We sampled the well-known spicy-fruity Ben Tré bar followed by the Treasure Island, a new one for me. The difference between the two bars is stunning. I would have to retaste it, but there was a clear and creamy liquorice tone to the bar, which was stunning.

KKBTB141025-4  KKBTB141025-3

Next, Samuel popped a première out of his sleeve and he offered us their youngest, brand new creation, the 70% Dak Lak bar. I would like to thank Samuel for offering me a bar of this chocolate, so I can review it into detail in the near future. All I can disclose now, is that this bar is a lot milder than some of their other creations, but offers an explosion of spicy flavors! I’m truly excited!

The market place

While going from room to room, you have to pass by the central hall, where dozens of stands offer all sorts of amazing products. Impossible to name them all, they went from Claudio Corallo over Akesson’s, Republica Del Cacao, Marou, Solstice, Naive, Grenada Chocolate Company, Original Beans, Chocolate Makers to Solstice. And then I forget about a dozen more! Combine this with cacao cooking stands, cacao beer, chocolate and wine pairing and so on, you will understand this little market is an event on its own!

 KKBTB141025-5  KKBTB141025-7  KKBTB141025-9 KKBTB141025-10  KKBTB141025-6  KKBTB141025-8

Amma… well, no… Idilio and Tibor Szanto tasting

What started out as a little hick-up ( Diego Badaro not being able to make it to Amsterdam on time), was quickly changed into a spontaneous double tasting act by Niklaus Blumer from Idilio and Tibor Szanto. Both these chocolate makers offer a wide variety of high quality origin bars and happen to use some beans of the same region, offering a very exciting tasting session.

Niklaus offered us an Ocumare and Porcelana bar, both originating in Venezuela. Idilio creates such smooth and harmonious chocolate bars, packed with earthy and roasted flavors.

KKBTB141025-11  KKBTB141025-12

Niklaus Blumer – Tibor Szanto

Tibor passed the very same Porcelana around and immediatly you discovered the difference in their ideas. Tibor Szanto uses stone grinding and shorter conche, creating a slightly coarser end product with a wonderful flavor complexity that keeps evolving. Where Idillio goes for harmony, Tibor goes for layers of taste. His Rio Caribe offered similar flavor ranges, adding a bit more fruits and finally his Carenero Superior bar took my breath away with its clear marzipan and cherry flavors.

Finally, Niklaus finally let us taste something I searched for since a long time, a very satisfying milk chocolate. Their Orinoco is made from cacao beans collected in the wild (so no plantation cacao) and offers amazing amounts of caramel and a heavenly aftertaste.

A great session indeed!


Dominique Persoone

Being Belgian I’m both biased about Belgian Chocolate and intrigued by people like Dominique Persoone, who are so dedicated to their product. The Belgian chef Dominique has a very popular filled chocolate factory and has even turned the heads of the Rolling Stones with his Cacao Shooter, but here he presented a view on the expeditions he undertakes to cacao producing regions. You think it is all about Criollo, Trinitatrio and Forastero when it comes to cacao? Think again. There are over one thousand different cacao related plants, all producing pods and beans. Dominique set up his own plantation, the Chocolate Line Plantation in Mexico, where he cultivates several species and now starts to experiment with them to create his own made chocolate. Yes! Finally Belgians start to see the light and at least try to make it to the bean to bar scene.



The result is still experimental, but it is far different from what I tried so far. Still a tad to sweet perhaps, but with an exquisite texture and aroma, it makes me look forward to any real production bars. Even Clay Gordon already sees the potential. Personally my palate had been a little overwhelmed to appreciate the subtleties – so I’ll have to try again later when he sells the chocolate.


Birth of Chocolate – Daniel and Linda Lorenzetti

Finally we attended our last presentation, by a couple who has become resident explorers for the Tropical Institute. They already did a project on coffee and now turned towards cacao. Their aim is to give the audience and idea of where chocolate comes from, focussing on the people who cultivate, treat and sell cacao. They travel all over the world, documenting both fine and bulk cacao producers.


However, the presentation was far to commercial for me. Instead of focussing on the story of one or two people in the project, we got a series of photo’s a bit of explanation all aimed at the audience to be aware about their product. Ending predictable by showing the sponsors. A missed chance in my view on a day like this.


Time flies by when you are having fun, so before we knew it, our hotel and dinner reservations for that night called and we had to leave the event.

If you like fine chocolate and if you ever have the chance, you owe it to yourself to visit this great event. It give you the opportunity to meet the makers and hear their stories first hand, while tasting a great collection of fine chocolates. Some would call this heaven!

Review: Duffy’s Indio Rojo – Honduras 72% (*****)

When I found the chocolate of Willie’s Cacao my wife wanted to try for such a long time now, she decided to surprise me with a little present of herself. So I got this Duffy’s Indio Rojo bar… Isn’t she the best wife ever?

The British Duffy Sheardown has a past in racing, but he changed his life dramatically once he got a great passion for quality chocolate. Nowadays, Duffy creates a vast line of artisan bean to bars that will make any chocolate enthusiast go wild. Think of Criollo, Camino Verde, Ocumare, Peru, Dominican Republic, Peru,…

Today we have an Academy of Chocolate gold-awarded bar on the table. Honduras isn’t an origin you see on many bars. So this makes for an extra appeal, to discover a new region and range of flavors. Indio Rojo means red Indian. Let’s see if this Indian can make us dream of far and exotic places.

KKBTB141018-2  KKBTB141018-1

 I was immediately struck by the vibrant color of the wrapper. You simply can’t ignore this bar. The blue color and Mayan-style decoration take you straight to South-America, the birthplace of cacao and chocolate. The wrapper proudly shows the origin and percentage of the chocolate. I just love the design.

The 80 grams bar is pretty big, as I see more and more 50g tablets. Hidden in a silver foil, it comes out with a very tempting aroma.

The bar itself is pretty simple in design. A perfectly molded piece of chocolate, carefully divided in rectangular pieces. Neat and sleek.

Bean: Criollo

Origin: Honduras

Production: Red Star Chocolate, UK

Price paid: €- gift received from my wife, bought at Hilde Devolder Chocolatier in Ghent

KKBTB141018-4  KKBTB141018-3

Color: a lighter shade of brown with a glorious red hint. So the name returns in the color of the bar. Nice!

Aroma: a touch of leather, raw cacao, faint orange in the back combined with dark wood.

Taste: hard snap on breaking of a piece, always a good sign. The chocolate is medium quick opening with sweet caramelized nuts and brown sugar and very chocolaty, before turning into a nice tangy, orange flower aroma that echoes around in your mouth and becomes stronger on the palate. Amidst, a dash of dried apricot pops up. Suddenly the fruits subdues and more herbal notes come through, reminding me of hay and spices with a pinch of cinnamon. The chocolate bites you a bit on the tongue near the end as if it was a much higher cacao percentage, before releasing a delicate aftertaste that revives the orange blossom flavors. The aftertaste has a great length and keeps evolving as does the chocolate itself. After the fruity tones again come some herbal notes swirling around a heavenly chocolaty flavor and a touch of coffee. The texture of the chocolate is good, if ever so slightly grainy. But it melts superbly in the mouth.

This bar was awarded with gold by the Academy of Chocolate in 2011 and I can clearly see why. It’s not often that you will experience a chocolate that evolves as much as this one. I once heard a connoisseur explain that Duffy builds three stage rocket chocolate. And in fact, this bar displays three distinct flavor profiles while savouring it. But on top of that, Duffy’s manages to create an aftertaste that keeps changing too! Doubling the fun! 5 stars in my book!