USA, Belize, 80%
Every chocolate has a story in it. Tasting is a union between the story of the people who grew it, made it, sold it and what your story brings to the tasting. Ethereal’s Belize 80% has an interesting tale to tell you.
Opening the package presents a bar with a familiar design but a wonderfully even and barely satin appearance. It’s minor texture gave the bar a nice feel to the fingers. It also had a soft textured snap as well and broke with a ragged line along the edges. It’s aroma was fairly complex and I went back and forth regarding what I thought was the primary scent. Mild cherry and vanilla were present but the sweetness and mild spice brought candied ginger to mind. The melt reveals a somewhat unrefined feel with a mellow and sandy melt.
First tastes have a delicate kiwi-like sweetness and a mild spiciness. The taste of vanilla is not as strong as the smell but when you do find it the overall impression is one of fruit tarts or baked goods: slightly syrupy sweetness with faint fruits and vanilla. It doesn’t stick around for long though and the character feels a little vacant in the middle. A bitterness comes with flavors of burnt sugar and the taste map changes from one of flavors to one that’s more directly sensual. A bit of acridity, some sourness.
The finish has some very dark sugar bitterness as well. It’s an interesting twist that I definitely didn’t see coming but did keep coming back to. Surprises can be the best gifts.
If you favor chocolate that has a bit of a more raw feel in flavor and texture I would give this a try. It doesn’t take you down the same path as many other bars do and diversity is always a good thing. I will admit that I missed the mild spiciness and sweetness in the flavor that I found in the aroma so I walked away a little unfulfilled. Instead of meeting my expectations it simply went around them.
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.