After punishing my brazenly snobbish, artisan-chocolate-preferring tastebuds with horrifyingly sweet Cadbury, slightly-less horrifyingly sweet Cadbury Top Deck, and then awful orange-tainted Moser Roth, I decided it was time to show my palate some lovin’.
So I delved deep into my chocolate stash and pulled out something by one of my favourite bean-to-bar chocolate companies, Askinosie. One day I’ll chat to you about Askinosie’s ethical principles and practices. One day.
Today, though, I simply want to tell you the story of how one terribly, horribly, no-good-very-badly bloomed chocolate was still at least forty times tastier than any pristinely-stored Cadbury chocolate currently in existence.
Askinosie San Jose Del Tambo Dark Chocolate
A couple of things to get out of the way first:
- Thank you Ashley, for so generously sending me this bar in our chocolate swap. It made me happy inside.
- Thank you Vitaliano Saravia, for being the lead farmer producing the cacao for this chocolate.
- And lastly, please don’t take the following images of Askinosie chocolate as indicative of its overall quality. I’ve had Askinosie many times before and it’s always been wonderfully glossy, rich in flavour, and tremendously lovely. Sadly, though, the international postage service doesn’t seem to understand the importance of temperature control when handling chocolate. Thus, serious blooming.
When you look at the following images, try squinting your eyes and imagining the chocolate as richly black-brown and unrelentingly shiny instead of, erm, chalky and powdery-white. As this chocolate was so badly bloomed when I received it, I shan’t be commenting on its texture. In fact, I wasn’t planning on reviewing this chocolate at all, but then I tasted it…
When I realised how good this San Jose Del Tambo dark chocolate was despite being so badly mistreated, I decided it deserved some time in the spotlight. Maybe one day I’ll track down a version of this in its pristine state, and then I’ll tell you about it all over again. Wouldn’t that be fun?
The strongest note in this 70% Ecuadorian chocolate is tropical fruit, with banana, starfruit, pear and pineapple (if you take away the acidity) coming to mind. I also thought of honeysuckle and cocoa marshmallows when eating this dark chocolate, which shows that it wasn’t marred by sour or bitter flavours. In fact, I was surprised at how lightly sweet yet deeply chocolate-y this 70% tasted. Who knew something could be so subtle yet have “oomph” at the same time?
The last flavour left lingering as this chocolate dissolved in my mouth was akin to a complex, sweet sherry, with a faint alcoholic hint playing against plummy raisin notes.
Of course, though, it also tasted like chocolate. (Apologies. The hayfever has got to me and, as a result, my brain is less than stellar right now.)
As Askinosie’s chocolate tastes this good even after being put through such blooming abuse (see what I did there? With the double meaning?), I am prepared to state unequivocally that Askinosie remains one of my favourite American chocolate companies to date.
I’m also still considering basing my PhD around it and other purportedly ethical chocolates of its ilk. But then again, I’m also considering becoming a mail-order bride in order to get away from making career choices. Does anyone know of countries out there with a ready market for Australian mail-order brides?