Richard's Rating: 6.0
The cacao grown at Fazenda Sempre Firme is a Forestero variety called Parazinho. Åkesson's Brazil chocolate was made with 75% cocoa solids (cacao beans from this plantation and added cocoa butter). The other 25% were cane sugar and soy lecithin.
Åkesson's chocolate is made by an unnamed French company (presumed to be Pralus). Even though they did not make the chocolate themselves, Åkesson's was actively involved in production decisions.
The bar came sealed in a clear cellophane inside a black paper box. It weighed 60 grams and had a large "Å" relief in the center. The bar was scored into symmetrically, but unevenly, into 9 pieces. The best before date for this particular bar was December 16, 2013.
Brazil Fazenda Sempre Firme had a medium dark brown Bitter Chocolate (PANTONE 19-1317) color. The chocolate was not in perfect condition (probably from improper transportation or storage at some point), yet the surface was smooth with an uneven sheen and a little scuffing. The picture above over-emphasized the contrast -- the bar looked better in person.
The aroma was primarily a strong earthy scent that reminded me of wet hay. There was also a tobacco roast. The combination smelled slightly unpleasant to me. The snap was hard.
The initial taste of this chocolate was similar its aroma: a powerful earthy hay with tobacco roast undertones. Bitterness and sweetness were present as fruit flavors developed. I tasted berry and raisin in particular.
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 bitter, slightly sour, and slightly acidic.
Åkesson's previous Brazil bar, made with cacao from a neighboring farm (Fazenda Monte Alegre), won a gold in 2011 from the Academy of Chocolate.
You can purchase Åkesson's Brazil Fazenda Sempre Firme 75% online from The Meadow for $7.95.