Running this chocolate shop isn't all glamour. Packing orders, dealing with suppliers, and lets not mention doing the accounts - they all can be draining. The best bit is when you get suppliers adding in extra chocolate to see what you think. With the most recent delivery Bryan from Fruition sent these three bars he was working on at the time.
Previously all but the 100% were made with Costa Rican cocoa beans but now Bryan has added the Guananico 70% and La Red made with beans from the Dominican Republic and the Camino Verde from Ecuador.
La Red 70%
Purely because the La Red is at the top of the line of bars I'll start there. I believes beans came from the higher elevations to the east of Los Pajones, María Trinidad Sánchez Province given that's where the La Red strain of cocoa is associated. One reason that I'm also keen to try this chocolate first is that I also believe the beans to be sourced via DirecTrade where growers and co-operatives receive a great deal more for their produce than the traditional methods of sourcing cocoa.
There have been a few other chocolate makers that have produced chocolate from this co-op including Dick Taylor, Raaka, Middlebury, Kerchner, Woodblock and Mast Brothers so it'll be interesting to see how Bryan makes it 'his own'.
It would be far too easy for me to describe the visual appearance as a hue of red. Interestingly I get more mauve but that could have more to do with the late Autumn glow through the window. There are very few pitted marks or swirls and the definition of the mould is as clearly defined as all of Bryan's seem to be. Whilst many other chocolate makers may copy the Pralus-style of mould (many chunks and then a large one), or even the basic moulding style given by fairly common commercial mould, Fruition has stamped their own brand on the mould and should not only be applauded from striking their own brand in chocolate form, but also executing it with almost perfection.
The aroma has just got so much going on. I get a distant whiff of camp fire, almond, mango and a touch of under-ripe banana. Far too much chocolate has a monotone aroma, but that's certainly not a criticism that can be levelled here.
In terms of flavour what struck me most was the resemblance to cherry muffins. There's that distinct characteristic of cherry mixed with sugar, but also a rounded, patisserie characteristic which gives it more depth. But there are top notes that could so easily be described as liquorice but notion quickly turns into molasses at the bottom of the taste profile. My brain seems to focus on each alternately just as a DSLR tries, but fails, to autofocus in low light.
This truly is a wonderful chocolate - not so much for any outrageous complexity of flavour, but more so because it does what it’s supposed to very, very well. Acidity is kept to a minimum but is more directed at the summer fruits spectrum of flavours.
The source of the beans for this bar is the area around DR town of Guananico in Puerto Plata Province and is a wonderfully mellow chocolate. The aroma reminds me of the old, heavily-used, leather seating in rustic old country pubs - you know the ones where many an unlikely tale has been told. What I find interesting is that this chocolate also has the same mauve hue as the La Red. But the flavour is remarkably different. It seems to be a fruit and nut combo but with a dash of soft spice.
The start of the melt seems unadventurous but then the flavour slowly builds up. There'll be yellow raisin which evolves into almond and then it hits a plateau. The flavour persists and seems to release yet more flavour in seemingly the same fashion an operatic end note that just won't die. Here, though, you just don't want it to. At the very end of the show it turns into candied orange peel which is a lovely way to sign off.
Camino Verde 75%
This is a completely different beast and serves to give those people that presume that all dark chocolate is the same a huge slap around the chops. The Camino Verde is break from Bryan's usual tack of a typical conch where small crystals are required and moves more into the Taza, Bonajuto line of granular chocolate. I just love chocolate like this.
Here we have a redder appearance and a solid snap. But looking at the structure of the chocolate after you have snapped should give a clear indication of what the texture of this chocolate will be like: coarse.
The flavours are a great deal more subtle. They seem to wrap vanilla, a hint of cherry with very diluted cough mixture. It'd be interesting to see how others receive this chocolate given the texture and relative placidity of the flavour as it'd be one I'd consume when I just want some chocolate. Whilst the other two I'd open up solely to enjoy the flavours.