Thibaut Legast is a passionate chocolate maker who first started working with the dark gold at the age of 15 in the family chocolate shop. Today he is at the helm of his operation and became a real chocolate maker by going bean-to-bar. Based in Braine-Le-Compte, situated in the Hainaut province, Thibaut works hard to change the view on chocolate by the general public.
His aim is to works as ethically as possible, meaning he buys directly from his cocoa farmers. Setting up a long time relationship with his suppliers is key to ensure receiving the highest quality of cocoa possible. This also means he has traveled a lot to visit his contacts in South-America. During these travels, Thibaut met Patricia Forero, who was working with the local cocoa farmers in Colombia. Both discovered a lot of similarities in their work and a love story grew. So today Patricia is Thibaut’s the partner in crime. Although I can’t imagine chocolate making ever being a crime!
Visiting Legast Chocolatier is an adventure. Walking into the shop and you enter a world of wood and soft colors. Chocolate is everywhere. Pralines, origin bars, macarons, fruits pastes and chocolate covered dried fruits. Behind the shop is the workplace, filled with every machine needed to create his bars and pralines. Thibaut and Patricia are perfectionists who want to return to the original, delicate flavors of cocoa and chocolate and make sure their customers understand why they choose to work this way.
As a first Legast review on this site, we try Thibaut’s version of the Colombian origin Tumaco. The native cocoa varieties used here are harvested directly in the tropical forest. Legast even mentions the harvest year. A nice touch and it seems like more and more chocolate makers start to share this info. Introduction is over, let’s dig in.
Where do I start on the package. It’s simply breathtaking. A gorgeous leopard walks toward you, against a yellow/brown backdrop. Legast’s logo on top. Left hand corner shows the percentage. The origin is mentioned smack into the middle and all the way down is proudly stated “made in Belgium” de fève à la tablette (bean-to-bar in French).
This is just the beginning. The box opens up to reveal the chocolate, as if it was a book. Info from side to side and a photo of the farmer responsible of the plantation the cocoa originated from. It gives a personal touch to the tasting experience.
The chocolate bar is protected by a cellophane wrapper. The bar design is simple and straightforward. Nothing wrong here. Legast rather focuses on flavor. What strikes me however, is the incredible shine of the chocolate. It has been a long time since I’ve seen this while opening a bar. And the smell is so enticing and inviting.
Bean: Native cocoa / natural hybrids
Origin: Tumaco – tropical forest in the south-west of Colombia
Maker: Legast Chocolatier – Braine-Le-Compte, Belgium
Price: € 6,00 – 80 g
Batch: Best before 10/2019 – Batch
Color: medium dark brown with a golden hue
Aroma: chocolaty, roasted cocoa, slightly woody
Taste: Imminent chocolaty from the fist second on. Slight roasted aromas start flowing in and a dash of nuts suddenly blows through the main flavor. Sweet honey dripping toasted bread shows up next. Cocoa/chocolate remains the highlight trough the entire tasting, but the secondary flavors waltz around the base flavor. Bread, nuts, a dash of coffee at some point. Even some yellow fruits seem to be right around the corner, but never break through. The flavor is gentle and seductive, yet has a great depth and intensity with a push and pull character. The after flavors keeps rolling on the deep chocolate tone and loses some of the playful side notes, becoming more mature, slightly more masculine and roasted. It seems endless and offers such a prolonged pleasure, there really is no need to rush for a new square.
Legast’s version of Tumaco is warm and comforting, familiar yet exciting. During the review of this bar I constantly had my three kids beside me, as they kept coming back for another piece. Always a good sign.
After eating over 6 squares, I had a pretty good idea of the flavors the Tumaco bar offers. And than it hit me, I forgot to pay attention to the texture and melt of the bar. Simply due to the fact that it is nearly perfect to me and juts let’s you focus on the flavors developing on the palate. By now over half of the bar is gone and I’m starting to feel a bit sad, because I’ll miss it when it is gone. And there is no way my kids will accept that there is no more in the cupboard.