Captain Pembleton wasn't a name I had come across before I started exploring the New Zealand chocolate making scene. The man behind the name, Jamie Andrews, like so many others, became inspired to make chocolate from personal experience whilst travelling. Whilst not knowing how to turn cocoa beans into chocolate in 2013 he has delved himself into the craft and produced some very interesting stuff.
I first start off with this Saidor, Papua New Guinea which is a single plantation. The difference, for those that don’t know, is where beans are sourced from a single estate of chocolate, the one owner who generally controls the fermentation process to produce potential flavours how they want (or the maker wants). It differs from single origin which could denote that a whole different hotchpotch of beans from various different parts of a growing country could be used. Typically we strive to stock single plantation as it often allows for more distinctive flavours given the particular terroir and post harvest practices. On the finest tasters would be able to pick out estates v. regions v. origins, but it’s nice to pinpoint where the cocoa was grown.
The chocolate was made from Trinitario beans from the Saidor plantation in the Finisterre mountain range in the north-east of the island. For me the actual cacoa available is a bit of a mixed-bag in that it’s such a confusing scene of different variants and strains of cocoa being introduced that you don’t often know what you’re getting and, often the post-harvest, processes with fire-dried cacao rather than sun-dried also means that flavours are often dominated by a smoky complexion.
What was remarkable, was the complete lack of these ‘wood-fire’ notes. It was much fruitier than anything I’ve tried from the origin. It was also ‘well-worked’ in that the flavours were mellow and restrained and fairly dominated by the sugar. It’d certainly be interesting to try this chocolate at the 78% or even 80% level, or perhaps with a shorter grind.Still this was an enjoyable chocolate.