Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review: Pacari Esmeraldas 60%

Richard's Rating: 6.5
chocolate makerPacari
cacao trees(unknown)
size50g ~ 1.8oz
cocoa solids60%
added fat(none)
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifiersunflower lecithin
other ingredients(none)
list price$5.49
colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015
texturesmooth, scoring, adhered bits, mottled sheen
aromaroast, earth, floral, fruit (tropical, hint of banana, hint of papaya)
snapmedium hard
tastesweet (honey), sour, earth, fruit (citrus, banana, berry), wine, floral, roast
finishsomewhat acidic, slightly sour
Ecuador bean to bar chocolate maker Pacari produces chocolate that is certified organic by both the USDA and the EC. They make both raw and roasted chocolate bars from single origin Ecuador cacao. We've previously reviewed their three unflavored raw chocolate bars (100%, 85%, and 70%). Pacari has three unflavored roasted bars with with cacao from specific regions of Ecuador: Los Rios 72%, Manabi 65%, and Esmeraldas 60%.

Like the others, Esmeraldas was made from cacao beans, cane sugar, and sunflower lecithin. The 60% cocoa solids were all beans, with no added cocoa butter. The 50 gram bar was scored into 15 pieces. It came enclosed in a silver plastic pouch inside the paper box. The box was stamped with a production date of 30 September 2011 and a best before date of 30 September 2013.

The color of the chocolate was medium-dark brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015), a shade lighter than Los Rios and a shade darker than Manabi. The surface was smooth on the top with no bubbles, but the sheen was mottled with spots. There were some chocolate bits adhered to it. The bottom surface was slightly uneven from the chocolate not fully settling before solidifying. The snap was medium hard.

Esmeraldas had an aroma consisting of roast, earth, floral, and fruit scents. The fruit smelled tropical, with hints of banana and papaya.

The chocolate tasted initially sweet and sour, with earth and fruit flavors. The sweetness seemed to be honey. The fruit included citrus, banana, and berry. Additional flavors of wine, floral, and roast were also present.

The melt was smooth. The chocolate flavor lasted 15 to 20 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The finish was somewhat acidic and slightly sour.

All three of Pacari's three regional single origin Ecuador chocolates were good, but overall I slightly preferred Esmeraldas, followed by Los Rios, and then Manabi, which surprised me, given Esmeraldas higher sugar content.

You can purchase Esmeraldas online for $5.49 directly from Pacari, or for $3.85 from Chocosphere.

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