Vivani Panama 92%

Posted on March 09, 2015 by  Lee Mccoy | 0 Comments

Panama isn't well-known for cocoa that produces raucous, vivacious chocolate. Nor has it really set the world a light with highly-rated chocolate. The best I can think of is Zotter's milk bar, whilst other makers such as Theo have also produced wonderful milk, but no dark has caught my attention so this 92% from the German makers Vivani had a tough job.

Opening up the box I was disappointed with the packaging which wasn't securely fastened - it could have easily been tampered with in store. I was further disappointed by the Lindt-like format of a very thin mould. 

The aroma next left me feeling flat. The aroma was distinctly of hazelnut and made me think it was made from West African cacao until I saw that it was labelled as a Panama. Moving on to the flavour it came back as also very flat, West African and like red wine that's been hanging around a bit too long. The notes were more of tannins, but not in an interesting fashion. Part way through the melt you may witness flashes of under-ripe banana, but that's about it.

Given that Panama appears to be a natural source of mellow cocoa then it seems strange to try and make a high-cocoa chocolate. But interestingly, Panama has a lot of cocoa with genetics that come from Ecuador and that country is a hotbed for 100% chocolate then perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised.

Often I find chocolate that plays overtly on its ethical characteristics with ingredient translations in many different languages and full nutritional information to be lacking in the flavour-department. This may be an over-simplification, but I don't feel that any prejudice of that kind has made me under-appreciate this chocolate, I just think it's definitely more a supermarket chocolate that a boutique one.

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