That's three bars. One made with sea salt, one with Tellicherry black peppercorns and a chilli one. All made by Ajala in the Czech Republic - who I found in George Bernardini's reviews book. They're a very small bean to bar maker that produce some very interesting flavours but don't seemingly sell online; their domain name redirects to their Facebook page and I did the deal to buy some via its Messenger service.
Such is life. But I was fascinated by the chocolate and hugely impressed when the bars arrived in lovely packaging - somewhat reminiscent of Mast Brothers, but I won't hold that against them. I've already tried the plain 73% because it was shouting at me to eat it. But with my reviews head on I thought it best to try the flavoured bars.
Firstly the sea salt. This has an exceptionally sharp saline flavour. More so than much of the sea salted chocolate I've tried in the past. The salted flavour does pass quickly and you're met with a lovely Peruvian floral flavour. The packaging claims that the chocolate is made from Criollo-DNA cacao and I remember having a debate at Seventy Percent Tasting Course regarding the presence of Criollo in that origin. There have been surveys of the cacao of the northern region of Peru where it was believed that some Criollo may exist. My believe is that the 'Criollo' used here is more of a 'language' issue in that the cocoa is a 'local' variety rather than a genetic Criollo. The reason being that the flavour erred more towards a leathery, oaky flavour profile than any subtle flavours. This may, of course, be due to the rustic and light processes, but I'd put my bottom dollar on it being more 'local' cacao than anything.
Many will like this chocolate because of it's more rustic flavour, akin to Pablo's Forever Cacao, not least due to that fact that it hasn't been greatly processed as Bonnat is.
The next uses black peppercorns from Tellicherry in India - a strange juxtaposition, and certainly an alternative to Akesson's pepper chocolate. With this version, the pepper is certainly minimal in presence. It plays an underlying role than dominant in the case of Bertil's chocolate. But strangely, this chocolate has a touch more of the soft, creamy nature I would expect from genetic Criollo, but then it does subside into the earthier, more Ecuadorian flavour set. Personally, I would have liked more of a noticeable pepper flavour.
The temper and texture of the chilli bar continued the enjoyable experience of had thus far of Ajala's chocolate. But continuing from the peppercorn bar, the chilli is very mild indeed - almost unrecognisable. But the base chocolate flavour was immensely enjoyable.
I've got some more of their chocolate to try out and see if the flavours are as mute as two of these three. I'll report back with my findings.