Honduran-origin chocolate can produce some startling chocolate, not least the Indio Rojo from Duffy which is sublime, but I don't recall ever trying a 100% version - until Hotel Chocolat produced this Mayan Red.
Often I would try and provide a thumbnail sketch of an origin to provide some insight as to what we would normally expect from the bean used and then compare it to the flavours I witness in a chocolate. But seeing as Honduras has such a diverse range of cacao, from Criollo which equates to around 1/4 of the samples tested by Kun Ji, Dapeng Zhang, et.al. in 2012 (pdf) to three-quarters being much lower 'quality' Amelonado, then it would be misleading to review on this basis, although one could assume (a dangerous occupation in the chocolate world) that this bean is mostly of Trinitario background.
What we do know is that the beans used here are from trees grown near to (but no specific distance) from the Copan ruins which can be found at the very south-eastern extremities of the old Mayan culture and where three royal tombs where pottery was found with traces of theobromine (a chemical found in cocoa beans).
When tasting the chocolate I'm not transported to a Central American location, I'm actually taken back to a recent trip to the Delamere Forest as the initial flavours were very much of moss, grass verges and clay soil. It was very natural but incredibly organic-tasting. Earthen notes combined with mushroom were also heavily featured. But with that hints of orange and elder flower. Although I've rattled off quite a few flavour notes, its not actually all that much of a complex chocolate. It piques at the end, but not greatly - just like a kid's ramp they'd make in the street and not a full on 90mph car crash.
It may be labelled as a 100% but this should have strong appeal even outside of the particular niche it was aimed at.
|Manufacturer's Notes||The complex flavours of Mayan Red will bring your taste buds to attention. Its prominent raisin profile has whispered undertones of lightly roasted coffee. The inviting aroma leads into a velvety smooth eat with a piquiant finish.|