Week 9. omNom Madagascar 66%

Cacao: 66%        Type: Dark chocolate         Origin: Madagascar

Ingredients: organic cacao beans from Madagascar, raw cane sugar, organic cacao butter

Where to Buy: online or at numerous locations worldwide (listed here)

Average Price: $11.00         Bar Size: 2.1 oz

Awards:

  • 2014 International Chocolate Awards European Bronze

Cacao Origin Map

Personal Tasting Notes

It's a profound treat to have the opportunity to sample chocolates, not only from origins all over the globe, but from chocolate makers all over the globe, as well. Having enjoyed chocolate made everywhere from Europe, to Africa, to South America and even Asia, I've come to understand that all palates are not created equal. Europeans tend to favor a very sweet, very milky chocolate, even above Americans; chocolate I purchased on the west coast of Ireland had a very different profile than chocolate of the same origin made elsewhere, and this was surprising to me at the time. 

I had that same experience with omNom's Madagascar bar. The notes and impressions from this bar were somewhat familiar, but different enough that I didn't recognize one of my all-time favorite origins: Madagascar. There was a brightness to the chocolate, which should have been a clue, but it came out in ways that were not familiar to me. The red cherry and fig aroma quickly gave way to a very  milky flavor, and notes of strawberry milk were present throughout. The sweetness, almost of an artificial tang, persisted long after the last chocolate notes had vanished. 

In the end, it was difficult to objectively rate this bar; there is a subjectiveness that is inherent in the tasting process, though I have tried to balance the two ideals in my grading rubric. This chocolate, then, ranked high in terms of appearance, aroma, and start, while I felt it was lacking in the middle, finish, and overall mouthfeel (it was grittier, or perhaps grainier, than I prefer), as well as my overall personal preference. Some of this is perhaps attributable to a different emphasis on the chocolate, which maybe appeals to the Icelandic palate in a more powerful way, and this just happens to not be to my personal preference. 

Maker Profile

Billed as Iceland's first bean-to-bar maker, Reykjavik based omNom Chocolate (named after the sound that the Cookie Monster makes--no joke!) was founded by chef-turned-chocolate-experimenteur and then maker Kjartan Gíslason and three partners back in 2013. The distinctive packaging is the brainchild of partner Andre Visage, a South African designer who brought to fruition the brand's intionality to create packaging that is uinique among craft chocolates and sturdy enough to hold the chocolate while it's being sampled. OmNom is known for its adventuresome pairings of unique flavors, and among their lineup are not only single origin bars, but also such bold flavors as licorice & sea salt and a white chocolate bar called the Dirty Blonde. Look for their bars where fine chocolate bars are sold.

Grading Rubric

Criteria
Good Characteristics
5
4
3
2
1
0
Bad Characteristics
Appearance
clean, shiny, snappy
  
  
  
  
  
  
bloomed, dull finish, no snap
Aroma
complex, distinctive
  
  
  
  
  
  
neutral, boring, flat
Start
flavors develop quickly
  
  
  
  
  
 
flavors slow in coming, uninteresting
Middle
flavors develop and change
  
  
  
  
  
  
flavors remain the same as the start
Finish
flavors change again and linger well beyond the chocolate
  
  
  
  
  
  
flavor ends abruptly, uninterestingly
Mouth Feel
smooth, velvety
  
  
  
  
  
  
grainy, inconsistent
Personal Preference
love, love, LOVE it!
  
  
  
  
  
  
meh.
Criteria
5
4
3
2
1
0
Characteristics
Appearance
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: clean, shiny, snappy
0: bloomed, dull finish, no snap
Aroma
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: complex, distinctive
0: neutral, boring, flat
Start
  
  
  
  
  
 
5: flavors develop quickly
0: flavors slow in coming, uninteresting
Middle
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: flavors develop and change
0: flavors remain the same as the start
Finish
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: flavors change again and linger well beyond the chocolate
0: flavor ends abruptly, uninterestingly
Mouth Feel
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: smooth, velvety
0: grainy, inconsistent
Personal Preference
  
  
  
  
  
  
5: love, love, LOVE it!
0: meh.

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