I think it’s called serendipity. As I walked out of a meeting with the lovely people at Hotel Chocolat and tried to catch a tube in Kensington it was closing due to some incident. There wasn't much rush so I decided to walk the three miles along Hyde Park to my next meeting in Mayfair. Along the way I stumbled upon Whole Foods. From talking to my Marou supplier I knew they sold chocolate so I ventured in. To my amazement I saw this 100% from Madécasse - I only thought they ventured up to 99% so it was a welcome find.
Of course Madécasse have very good engaged ethics, they're a company that meets our requirements on that score and I believe their chocolate is made in the same facility as Menakao so I'm also confident about their manufacturing processes and consistency. On both counts they're a company that we would be happy to stock.
Another reason is that this 100% is actually very much like the very popular Pralus 100% which is also made from African cacao, but a less revered strain. Now on this bar there's no indication of the particular type of cacao used other than it being called 'Heirloom'. There's certainly Criollo on the island so I'm not entirely sure why Madécasse publicise this, or if they, like me, are fed up of companies emblazoning 'Criollo' on their packaging without any indication of what it is or why it would be a good thing. But the important point is that this is a particularly good 100%.
The chocolate may taste like it has a high cocoa butter content and it is seeing as about 52% of the chocolate is fats. But that leads me back to the Pralus point. This chocolate appears to be a cross between that West African Amelonado Pralus and the Menakao 100% grown in the same region of Madagascar. It starts off as a soft Pralus and starts, but doesn't quite get to becoming a sharp Menakao. I do feel, however, that there certainly is a place for this chocolate in the market.
The problem we have is that much of their chocolate can be bought on Amazon at very low prices so it would be hard for us to compete and reinvest in new, obscure lines - where our passion mainly lies. We may try it and see what you guys think of it and hope that you'd stick with us rather by it en masse from Amazon.