Ocumare, Venezuela, Venezuela, 70%
If you didn’t read the packaging you could easily put Franceschi’s chocolate bars on the shelf next to bottles of cologne and no one would notice. In 1986. I love the way the boxes look and feel. Retro in a way that is so far from the hand-stamped, rough-shod, Brooklynite and cursive graphic design. It’s a breath of fresh air frankly. Well, they are Italian afterall…
Oh but there’s also chocolate inside this box too! Win-win!
Speaking of the chocolate, it matches the exterior: it’s crisp under your fingers, melts like wet sand on your tongue and has that ocumare acidity in spades. This is a bar that is best enjoyed, for me at least, in sprints. Alternating between melting and chewing this bar in your mouth gives you all that this bar can offer.
It smells a little like figs but the aroma isn’t particularly strong. Especially in contrast to how it tastes. The flavor is strong when treated well. (I should note that the bar actually has small inclusions–little fibrous pieces that bring a bit of texture. This isn’t mentioned on the packaging so it’s a byproduct of their process, not a bad thing at all but worth pointing out since I did notice it more than once. Probably the best way to get additional fibre I can think of.)
Chewing this bar releases a flood of great sour fruits: young berries, green apple skins and green papaya (to name a few). But there’s also a very smooth and spicy centre to this one that’s as complex but not as in your face. A lightly nutty middle like tahini/kinako and earthy spices like paprika. Finally though the flavor thins out pretty quickly, the aftertaste is negligible, and that’s too bad.
The bar looks, feels and tastes like a specialty bar, and it is. I just wish it hung around a little longer. At least while it’s present there’s a lot of observe. And there’s that box!
Franceschi, Ocumare, Venezuela, 70%, CX#54572
Ingredients: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cane sugar
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.