Review: The Grenada Chocolate Company – 82% Cacao (*** 1/2)

The Grendada Chocolate Company. If there is any chocolate maker out there that takes fair trade and environmental sustainability serious, it is The Grenada Chocolate Company. Few producers actual own cacao farms, yet alone create cooperatives to produce the beans and the chocolate, to produce a quality product and raise the standard of life of the local people to new heights. They do. Few try to minimise their ecological footprint by using solar power to produce their chocolate and occasionally transport their products to Europe by sailboat. Just to show it is possible! Mott Green, the late founder of the company was a man with a vision. Unfortunate a tragic accident earlier this year ended his life to soon. Let’s hope his legacy will live on.

Anyhow, so, the chocolate. What are we getting here. Their 82% cacao bar. Organic and fair trade. Strange they feel the need to add some vanilla to their chocolate, but it’s also organic and natural.

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The package has a simple, but colourful design, clearly stating what it is all about. Gently pushing the bar out of the sleeve reveals an orange glossy wrapper hiding a big bar. The design is nice, an embossed center piece, surrounded by several scored blocks. This bar is thick, thicker than many others out there.

But the most important thing is it’s taste, right?

Bean: Trinitario
Origin: Grenada
Production: Grenada chocolate company
Price paid: € 4,50/85 g (Hilde Devolder Chocolatier)

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Colour: Dark ebony, with an almost purple hue.

Aroma: Unmistakenly high in cacao due to the pure cacao aroma emerging. The aroma is green in nature, with vegetal notes and raw cacao intensity. No sweetness comes through.

Taste: A very hard snap on breaking a piece off, it opens quiet slowly without too much of  high cacao dryness, it just pops up. It starts up even slightly sweet and spicy before a gentle espresso-like bitterness reminds you it is in fact high in percentage cacao chocolate. Suddenly the bar takes a step back and introduces the first sweetness again, combined with hints of dry fruits like raisin and plum, while a wine tanine touch keeps mingling in as the chocolate melts. The dry start turns over to a smooth melt, creating a velvety sensation in the mouth, without becoming to clingy. Lots of chocolate aroma on the offer. Biting on the piece will release another wave of fresh green and fruitful aromas and adds a little dryness. Once the piece has molten, a very chocolaty aftertaste appears. All the fruity flavors have gone and the high cacao percentage becomes clear again as chocolate and coffee bitterness roll around in its exeptional length.

While this chocolate is generally very pleasing, it still strengthens my feeling that producing a chocolate over 80% is serious business if one wants to keep the vibrant notes of the high quality cacao alive. Grenada certainly succeeds in creating a very balanced bar, showing both sides of the medal. The intensity of high percentage cacao, with just enough sweetness to open the flavor notes, before swapping over to a more powerful aftertaste. And these swift character changes produce a somewhat nervous taste experience, like I’ve noted before in 80+ percentages.

Makes me wonder how the 70% version tastes. So a well deserved 3 stars and a half in my book!

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