East Van Roasters
Canada, Pangoa, Peru, 70%
East Van Roasters is unusual in that they’re a non-profit. They’re a social enterprise that trains and employs women from the Rainier Hotel in the Downtown Eastside of east Vancouver. Being a resident of east Vancouver there are plenty of reasons to support East Van Roasters and chocolate kinda seals the deal.
Everything about the bar feels a little raw and uninhibited. It’s finish was rather matte, it’s had a felted feel to it and it snapped with a pretty muted sound. Soft, you might think. However it’s aroma is very aggressively vegetal and sharp like cranberries mixed with chamomile-lemon tea and, surprisingly, dill. These really bright spots carry over to the overall flavor too. Turns out there was a lot energy under the surface here.
The flavor of this bar makes its home in some soaring heights. Leaving it on your tongue brings curious sensations of fizz and heat. The base is like a rum raisin, which is topped with a lemon tart finished with demerara sugar. It has a pretty high acid content which you can feel more than taste. Acidic chocolate, like salted licorice, isn’t for everyone. There is also some more dill and herb like flavors when you bit down on it. Finally there’s a coppery edge to the flavor, a bit of a dirty edge. The finish leaves your mouth vibrating and singing from the encounter.
It’s larger particle size gives this bar a texture that isn’t too far off of something almost coconutty. It’s melt is pretty slow or, at the very least, the flavor is so full of energy it just feels slow.
This chocolate is extremely expressive, if a little unrefined, and it would be great in a lineup for tasting. If you like bright coffees, chocolates and sour fruit you’ll find something here worth supporting even more than usual.
Being the son of a chocolatier Chris has always enjoyed talking about chocolate as much as he loves eating it. He’s an artist and designer as well as a co-founder of the Chocolate Codex.