Richard's Rating: 8.0
This is the first bar we've reviewed with Fresco's new packaging that better highlights roast and conching strategy used in making the chocolate. They also increased the bar size from 40 to 45 grams. Fresco continues to make all of their chocolate in a nut-free facility.
Fresco made four recipes using single origin cacao from Papua New Guinea: 219, 220, 221, and 222. They only varied in roast and conche.
222 was a single origin bar made with 69% cacao beans and 31% cane sugar. There was no added cocoa butter. This formulation used a light roast and no conching. It was the only recipe that had no conching.
This chocolate came in the new 45 gram size. The bar still had a nearly identical shape: scored into 10 pieces, each lined either vertically or horizontally. It came wrapped in silver foil-sided wax paper inside a paper box that was wider than the previous ones. The production date was September 14, 2012 (bar 152 in batch #222-12-039). The best before date was October 2014.
222 had a medium-light brown Fudgesickle (PANTONE 19-1431) color. As typical for Fresco, the bar looked great other than having bubbles in the corners of some pieces. The snap was medium-hard.
The aroma was earthy, with additional scents of fruit, wood, vinegar and some dairy. I also smelled just a hint of olive.
The chocolate tasted earthy and strongly of fruit. I experienced the citrus and berry fruit flavors primarily as lime, blackberry, and cranberry. The taste was both sweet and somewhat sour.
The melt was smooth, but on the less smooth side. The flavor lasted 35 to 40 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving it a medium length, nearly making it to long. The finish was acidic and somewhat astringent.
Overall, this is the best Papua New Guinea bar I've tasted since Michel Cluizel Maralumi 64% two years ago. Unfortunately, I can't compare them head to head at present, so I'm not sure which I like better. I look forward to tasting the other three Papua New Guinea bars that Fresco recently released.
Fresco 222 is not yet available online, but look for it soon at Chocolopolis.