At last. Something we actually like on our seemingly random trawl through what the chocolate world has to offer. Generally we greatly admire chocolate made in the USA and whilst some of the European chocolate we've tried recently has been largely disappointing, it was nice to try a bar that typified the kind of execution I crave.
Somerville is a very small outfit based out the Massachusetts city of the same name and have a very small selection of bars. Including this Hawaiian 70% they also have a Nicaragua 70%, a Dominican 65%, a white and a wood oven roasted 65% also from Nicaragua.
I've tried a variety of chocolate made from Hawaiian cacao over the years and have largely been impressed - especially with Madre's Triple Cacao. And whilst this chocolate seems to follow a similar flavour profile, from memory at least, the this particular Hawaiian is its own beast. Or at least I thought. On reflection there is a strong resemblance to the chocolate produced by Bonnat, and perhaps even Friis Holm given the creamy complexion of the bar.
But even with that aspect there is a true cacao flavour here. It just flashes at the beginning of the melt which then ascends into a high-roast kind of profile with hazelnuts and kiwi fruit and mango. These flavours are particularly short-lived however. There is no extreme length in this chocolate, but that's certainly not to its detriment as it’s better to have less of something wonderful than a lot of something average or unpleasant. And this chocolate certainly isn't that.
I have the Nicaragua 70% to try out too, but on this initial tasting I'm confident that Somerville is certainly a maker that meets our primary focus on quality. The subsequent criteria, going forward, is that the chocolate is unique, which it quite evidently is in the fact that the origins and approach are atypical. Furthermore, Eric makes the chocolate by hand, apparently sources his cacao from ethical suppliers and also doesn't use any form of lecithin (a desired, but not crucial aspect) - much in the same way as Dan's Finca Chocolate.