Doble & Bignall is another British chocolate maker that has seemingly cropped up out of nowhere. This is a fantastic phenomenon, however, for chocolate retailers as ourselves trying to keep-up-to-date with all things bean-to-bar it results in us running around like headless chickens learning about the new people, reviewing what they have to offer and hopefully working with them to bring their chocolate to a wider audience. Our goal, of course, is to bring the world's best and most ethical chocolate to your door.
Simon and Margie make chocolate from Venezuelan and Panamanian beans. The packaging states that the Venzy is from Puerto Cabello, and the only chocolate from that area I can think of is Bonnat, however, I'm sure there must be more. That chocolate is very good, so it will be interesting to see what these Brits can do with the beans.
In terms of visual appearance you can see some striations in the reverse of the bar as it seems to have cooled at different rates. The mould is also the same as Madre and a couple of others - but that's far from a negative point. But it's that aroma that I was bowled over by. It has the sense of a waning camp fire - with a slight wet farmyard complexion. I absolutely loved it. The acidity instead of being naive and unworked comes across more like fine whisky.
The texture was pretty damn good. The snap was thin and short as a result of the chocolate itself being thin. There was no dull sound, no 'dampener' present. There were only very few, small bubbles present too. The flavour is relatively mellow, uncomplicated, but refined. You will get dashes of acidity and coffee, but nothing robust or unerring.
I have no idea of the estate or region for the Panama so it's difficult to compare what I would have expected against what I actually find. The benefit of not knowing where the cocoa beans come from actually does allow you to review the chocolate on merit. (Update: Maggie has corrected my error and let me know that the cacao was grown in Tierra Oscura - which is the same region as the Duffy chocolate of the same name.)
This chocolate tastes like nothing I've encountered before. It has notes of burger relish with heaps of sweetcorn against fried bread and marmalade. But with that there is a definite acidity at the tobacco/leather end of the spectrum. At a guess, and putting myself on the spot, I'd say this is more like a San Martin. It even runs onto sandalwood and blueberry. This is the complete opposite to the Venezuela as here you're actually pulled in various different directions.