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Chocolate tasting

Last night I attended a terrific chocolate tasting hosted by my dear friend Steve. Steve obtained eleven different origins of cocoa bean, serially roasted them, then presented either his favorite roast or two roasts which he thinks bracketed the sweet-spot. Each bean was then winnowed and ground in a coffee grinder with sugar. The purpose was to create blends with which to create confections from the finished, tempered chocolate. My notes on the individual roasts are below, I didn’t take notes on the blending, that’ll just have to be a surprise.

DRC 15 minute roast (Dom. Republic): Clover hay, raspberry, toasted chashew, sasparilla, creosote

DRC 20 minute roast: deeper, plum, brandy, molasses, water chesnuts, actually less creosote than the 15 minute.

DRC 25 minute roast: the flavor is more complete and integrated, though a little duller. Nut shells, carmelied damsons and walnuts.

DRC 30 minute roast: Lots of tar, heavy creosote, rather dead.


PC (Peru) 15 minute roast: pistachios, apricots, bourbon, rosemary, and a light savory note. High-toned and estery, difficult to blend with.


EC 25 minute roast (Ecuador): olive oil, whole wheat bread, lightly floral, and a juicy coconut oil note.


PNG 20 minute roast (Papua New Guinea): Black cherries, more sharply acidic but still with some fiberous green woody notes.

PNG 30 minute roast: MUCH more acidic, too loud and heavy handed, big notes of popcorn and current juice.


Gha 25 minute roast (Ghana): nothing bright happening but a good good broad mud notes and dried grass

Gha 30 minute roast: Dry black dirt, white flowers, freshly inked newspaper


Hon 20 minute roast (Honduras): fatty coconut, dulce de lece, light bacon note

Hon 25 minute roast: The same but with a rich baking spice overlay. very fun.


Bct 20 minute roast (Bolivia): clean and richly honeyed, a lovely top-dresser

BCT 25 minute roast: more deeply fruited on dates soaked in honey with broader coffee notes


Vcs 20 minute roast (Venezuala): bright and floral on geranium tea, yunan black tea and a light grapiness.

Vcs: 25 minute roast: over roasted


Gua 20 minute roast (Guatamala): nose is muted, palate is very green and woody with a fruity, candy quality

Gua 25 minute roast: heavy cream, cinnamon hearts, and nutmeg.


Drr 20 minute roast (Dom. Republic again): molasses, chesnuts, but a light estery broad floral note.


Vsl 25 minute roast (venezuala): precise and fruity on sugar plums, papaya, and a bit of lime.

Vsl 30 minute roast: pushed a little too far. Maybe 27 minutes would give it the complexity without burning?


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A tasting of 7 different single-origin vanilla beans.

Each were incorperated into heavily vanilla’d white chocolate ganache and spread upon simple home-made butter-cookies.

Bourbon: Red currants

Indie: lillies/jasmine/plum

Indonesia: Darker, burnt/spun caramal. wood/stem. more salt.

Madagascar: green and bright. gooseberries and greengages, champagne/carbolic acid

Mexico: Dry, bright raspberry and birch.

Tahiti: Barky cinnamon and cherry. almonds.

Tonga: Big cherry and guavas. Something around the point where spicy chilies and narrow bitterness meet.

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Honey soaked figs, beautiful balance of smoke, oil, wood plank, sherry influence, and malt.Starts on maple sweetness and whole barley, developing nutmeg and eventually lemon and dill mixed in subtly with the oak spice. Moves onto banana and cinnamon with fresh sea air, nice and salty with molasses notes now, going further into a Dalmore-esque chocolate tangerine note, but with a little bacon adding some umami character to the background. Gaining now hickory smoke, dates, and black tea, with sliced mango showing on the nose now, and evolving further on brown sugar, vanilla, and grass.

Simply superb. Really and truly a spectacular damn malt.

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Stewed apples with cinnamon and caramel, subtle smoke, mint and peppers add a biting top note. Sweet cream, dark damp wood, subtle black licorice, some <developing white flowers, honeysuckle, and fresh apples.

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Interesting balance between caramel and minerals. Prunes, macadamia nuts, golden raisins, apricot marmalade, cafe au lait, chocolate, tangerines, orange blossom honey, and mint tea, as well as earl gray. Finishing on chipotle peppers.

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Cereals, golden syrup, butter, heather, burnt caramel, pineapple, banana, kiwi, cantaloupe and honey-dew melons, char and subtle walnuts.

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Molten brown sugar, pork rinds, bergamot, grapefruit, and blood oranges, red currants, butter, cashews, pepper, deep smoke.

Unimaginable balance.


Absolutely fabulous, I would pay untold sums of money for a bottle of this for my very own.

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