Review: The Chocolate Tree – Peru 80% (***1/2)

Would you like some samples of our Scottish bean-to-bar made chocolate? Some days you receive wonderful questions by mail.

The Chocolate Tree is obviously a proud artisan chocolate maker and rightfully so. As I said before, I can only have the deepest respect for people willing to venture in the world of high quality cacao and chocolate, because they make life a lot more enjoyable!

So there is was a while ago. A gorgeous pile of small chocolate bars, bound together as if it was a precious gift.

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All these bars (two single origins, a milk chocolate bar, a Gianduja bar and two flavor-infused bars), deserve all my attention, so you”ll see them pop up on my blog one by one the following weeks.

Today we sample the Peru bar made from Nacional cacao and a hefty 80% cacao content. Not really knowing what kind of flavor to expect, as I’ve samples highly fruity bars and dark powerful ones from this origin, I was first struck by the package.

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The bar is wrapper in a flower decorated thick paper. It’s closed on the back by a label stating all the info one likes to read – origin, percentage, type of cacao bar and ingredients. The package is further decorated with a very Celtic looking logo. a rune-like drawing of infinite trees combined with a typical writing font puts you in Scotland right away. Oh, how I can smell the smokyness of a nice peated single malt Whisky… oh wait, it’s about chocolate.

Inside the wrapper, a golden foil keeps the actual bar away from daylight en outside interferences. Opening it, reveals one of the best looking designs I saw since a while. The difference in bar thickness from piece to piece, combined with careful styled decoration is a sight to see. Good points so far!

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Bean: Nacional

Origin: Peru

Production: The Chocolate Tree – Edinburgh, Scotland

Price: Unknown – 45 g given as a sample

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Color: a gorgeous ebony with a reddish hue

Aroma: Deep chocolate, earthy, a bit acidic and ever so slightly spiced

Taste: A softer snap when breaking of a piece, this chocolate is starting quick with coffee tones; mellowed down by a very soft sweetness. Next comes a wave of nuts and spices – cinnamon comes to mind. A hint of vanilla joins the party merely seconds after. The taste remains very masculine, with lots of espresso bitterness and rich chocolate aromas. The melt flows fluently into a pronounced aftertaste, adding a bit of smoked hay, prolonging the powerful aroma of a satisfying chocolate.

The melt of the chocolate is very smooth, probably due to the extra cacao butter added to the mix. As I’ve noticed in several 80+ chocolates, adding the butter makes the chocolate easier to enjoy, yet may overwhelm some of the cacao subtle tastes. In this case, The Chocolate Tree is very careful not to smother the aroma’s, but rather make the tasting more enjoyable texture wise. Due to this rich texture, my first reaction was not being very fond of the bar, but I have to admit this chocolate grew on me during the tasting session. Every bite I took made me enjoy the flavors and overall experience just a tad more, until I realised it is actually pretty good! Don’t expect a fresh, fruit festival, but a gorgeous deep, expressive high percentage chocolate!

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