Richard's Rating: 5.5
Pascha not only sources their cacao in Peru, but also works with a small independent factory there to make their chocolate bars locally. 85% Cacao was certified organic, non-GMO, fair trade, and kosher. The bar was also labeled vegan. While still caring about the societal aspects of cacao production, Simon focuses primarily on the consumer experience of Pascha chocolate.
85% Cacao included cocoa powder among its ingredients, which is extremely unusual. Simon explained that they press cacao at the factory and experimented with varying liquor, butter, and powder to get the result they wanted. All of the ingredients of 85% Cacao were organic: cocoa mass, cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla.
The large 100 gram bar came sealed in plastic inside a paper box. It was scored into 24 pieces, each imprinted with either parallel lines or an image of someone with a basket of cacao pods on their back. The best before date was May 20, 2014.
The chocolate had a medium brown Bracken (PANTONE 19-1015) color. The surface was smooth. There were some adhered bits of chocolate and several tiny bubbles in the corners. The bar had a hard snap.
Roast, nut, and vanilla were predominant in the aroma. The roast contained malt and smoke. I also smelled spice.
85% Cacao tasted initially of a malt roast, and then flavors of nut, wood, and fruit came forth. The fruit flavor was generally citrus and included grapefruit in particular. During two passes, the nuttiness was noticeably stronger than the other flavors. The taste was also bitter, chalky, and somewhat sour.
The melt was smooth. The chocolate flavor lasted about 30 to 35 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a medium length. The finish was tannin, somewhat acidic, and slightly sour.
The nutty flavor and nut-free production make this an especially interesting chocolate for someone allergic to nuts to taste.
You can purchase Organic Dark 85% Cacao online directly from Pascha in packs of 5 bars for $25, or from Chocosphere for $5.30 individually, $24.65 for five, or $46.60 for ten.