Knowing people that know people is worth a lot! Every now and then I receive a surprise delivery of Republica Del Cacao bars. These bars aren’t easy to get my hands on in my part of the woods, so I’m very grateful they appear every now and then through people that travel to South America. The company wants to bring the best South American chocolate to the customer and searches some of the best cocoa all over the continent to create several origin bars. This particular one is made from Arriba cocoa from Ecuador. I’ve reviewed their Ecuador Arriba bar made from cocoa grown in the Vinces community, which offers the possibility to compare my notes from both tasting sessions. Skilled chocolate makers can bring forth the flavor difference in cocoa’s grown in different regions, even if they are the same variety. The package promises flowers and fruits. Floral cocoa almost always seems to originate in Ecuador, making it a very interesting origin.
Compared to the Vinces Community, the El Oro Province is situated a lot more to the south, bordering Peru near the Tumbes region – another known cocoa origin. So one can expect quiet a difference in flavor this time around.
The company also reveals the origin of the “Arriba” name of the cocoa. Back in the 19th century, a swiss chocolate maker traveled on the Guayas river in Ecuador and noticed an impressive aroma from the beans he found. When he asked the workmen where they had found such an impressive cocoa, they replied “de rio arriba” or up the river. Hence the Arriba name was born. I can’t confirm if this story is accurate, but it surely does tickle the imagination.
The package is bright yellow, with a old school newspaper feel. They provide a lot if information on the origin, percentage and the cocoa – it even includes GPS coordinates situated close to Machala Canton.
The bar follows the standard mold of Republica Del Cacao – big generous pieces scored with the logo of the company and the cocoa origin in the same style as the wrapper. Nice!
Bean: Arriba (Forastero)
Origin: El Oro Provincia – Ecuador
Production: Confiteca CA – Quito, Ecuador
Price paid: gift by Annie Vanherpe – 100g
Color: A nice ebony brown with a slight red hue
Aroma: Intense, floral, sweet, warm spices like cinnamon and a roasted nuts touch.
Taste: The snap is medium hard. The aroma opens up very sweet with honey, yellow raisin and a delicate whiff of ripe bananas, gliding over to a very floral taste. Hard to describe the exact flowers but jasmin and hyacinth popped up in my head. Next the flavor turns to mild sweet spices. Clear gingerbread aroma’s like cinnamon and anise. There is absolutely no touch of bitterness whatsoever. The texture is smooth, if not a bit buttery. It melts very quickly. The aftertaste reveals slight earthy notes and adds just a little bit of tannins and leaves the impression of roasted nuts lingering on. The flavor is mild at heart and seems to offer a fairly simple aroma, though when giving yourself the time to really discover the taste, more and more nuances pop up. This type of chocolate would be ideal on a lazy sunday morning. Gently waking you up with warm flavors, brightening up your day.
Compared to the Vinces Community 75% bar I reviewed before, the big lines remain the same when it comes to the texture and overall flavor profile. Smooth, slightly buttery texture and a soft yet flavorful profile. What sets this bar apart is the clear three step flavor evolution. Sweet – floral – spicy. Every time you take a new piece, the exact same changes come forth. And this is what keeps tasting a bar like this so much more fun and inspiring. A wonderful piece of chocolate!