Cacao: 70% Type: Dark chocolate Origin: Nicaragua
Region: Northern Nicaraguan highlands
Ingredients: cacao beans, sugar, cocoa butter
Where to Buy: various online vendors (here at cocoarunners.com) and at many fine food shops worldwide
Average Price: $20.00 Bar Size: 100 g (3.53 oz)
Cacao Origin Map
Personal Tasting Notes
This week's bar was HUGE. Over 3 ounces of luscious dark chocolate awaited me for the tasting, and I didn't waste a bite of it. Rather, I spent the week mulling over, and over, and over, square after square of it.
And it surprised me a little. For me, the flavors were either really pronounced, or virtually nonexistent, with very little in between. For instance, I found it really tart and sour (which I love), high in fruity notes and cocoayness, but also really rich in the tobacco, fig, and molasses notes. On the other hand, I didn't find hardly any floral notes, or spice, or nut, or herbal notes. Maybe it was just my taste buds this week. In any case, I found myself unable to resist eating more of it, or to rank it astoundingly high across the board, despite the fact that I didn't feel it was a particularly complex bar. It was gorgeous and ruddy and smelled rich of cherry tobacco and cocoa; the flavors started off strong and unapologetic and shifted toward the middle and then again toward the end, and the finish just lasted and lasted and left me with a head full of cocoa for a good long while. The mouthfeel was as smooth as I've ever encountered, buttery and luscious and almost-but-not-quite a little too melty. On the whole, it was a beautiful experience, a well-balanced and not particularly challenging bar to eat...which explains how I managed to single-handedly polish it off in 5 days!
A little about the bar itself: Friis Holm does a little something special with this bar: the beans are turned while they're still in the fermentation process, which affects oxygenation and fermentation and causes unique things to happen to the flavors. This particular chocolate was turned twice, while another bar is a triple-turned version of the same stuff. While I haven't tried the triple-turned Chuno, I did read up on some reviews of it, and the notes are evidently markedly different. It's tiny innovations like these that really serve to enrich and diversify the chocolate making and tasting experience for all of us.
Mikkel Friis-Holm of Denmark founded Friis Holm Chocolate in 2008 after a mentorship with Scharffen Berger Chocolate founders John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg led him to form connections with the South American cacao industry. Today, Friis Holm is run by Mikkel and his family in Denmark and is built on the principles of experimentation, discovery, and preservation.
0: bloomed, dull finish, no snap
0: neutral, boring, flat
0: flavors slow in coming, uninteresting
0: flavors remain the same as the start
0: flavor ends abruptly, uninterestingly
0: grainy, inconsistent