The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and the leaves of the trees are turning from green to yellow and red. Autumn is here. The season where I always return to one of my preferred products. Chocolate.
Today, I present you Standout Chocolate from Sweden. Founded by Fredrik Martinsson in 2018, the company has a clear philosophy. To create great tasting bean to bar chocolate, reflecting the flavors of the cocoa harvested in different parts of the world. While doing so, Standout wants to provide full transparency and create a sustainable product with as little environmental impact as possible.
I was very happy do discover their products in my local origin chocolate shop in Ghent (Hilde Devolder). I choose the Lachuá Guatemala bar, as I’m not familiar with this origin. Exploring new origins is always exciting, especially if the chocolate is made by a producer whose bars I have never tried before.
Guatemala isn’t an origin I come across to often. Even though Guatemala was part of the Mayan civilization, the Central American country is not as well known as South American origins like Venezuela, Colombia or Peru. The Mayas clearly understood the importance of quality cocoa in such a way, they even used it as money. So you could say that cocoa is part of the historical heritage of Guatemala and clearly deserves a spot in the fine chocolate world.
Lachuá is a cooperative of cocoa farmers, based in the Lachuá Lagoon national park. Here, Q’eqchi’ Maya families rely on growing quality, organic cocoa and other crops as their main means of living. Three associations perform the post harvest treatment such as fermenting and drying, before the final product can be shipped to chocolate makers.
Let’s find out what their cocoa has to offer, as interpreted by Standout Chocolate.
A two shaded green box lays in my hands. Standout chocolate – Handcrafted in Sweden is mentioned proudly. Single Origin, Lachuá Guatemale – 70% and tasting notes. What more can you ask for? The box feels luxurious and has unusual proportions, rather book like than a chocolate bar. And there is plenty to read here. Flip the box and youwill read about the way Standout Chocolate makes their product from bean to bar. Origin informations are some of the most extensive I’ve seen up to date. Country, region, producer, biodiversity, number of farmers, harvest season, altitude, fermentation and drying protocol. It’s all there, right on the box! They are clearly trying to offer maximum transparency.
The FSC certified cardboard box has a nice chocolate bar inside, in a biodegradable cellophane wrapper.
The bar has a simple rectangular squares design, but is executed perfectly and shines nicely. All lines are sharp, with practically no traces of air bubbles.
The aroma is really nice and captures my attention in a flash.
Bean: Not mentioned
Origin: Lachuá region – Guatemala
Maker: Standout Chocolate – Sweden
Ingredients: cocoa beans and cane sugar.
Price: € 6,90 – 50 g (Webshop Standout Chocolate)
Batch: Not mentioned – best before 16/09/2023
Harvest: March – June 2017
Color: Deep ebony, slight red hue
Aroma: earthy, roasted cocoa, sweet and deep, a hint of spicy wood
Taste: A fast chocolaty start marks the beginning of the flavor journey. Sweetness appears with building momentum. A flash of honey, sweet yellow fruits, reminding me of golden raisins, apricot, plum. A dash of vanilla and a slight, fruity sourness on the tip of the tongue, keeping the flavor dance on your tongue playful. There is a slight sprinkle of tannin in the back, offering a solid base for the other tingling flavor notes to shine. Moving over to warm chocolate, with a sudden roasted nuttiness at the end, flowing over to a very chocolaty after flavor. Strong, coffee, wood, fruits are gone.
A very nice and elegant chocolate with great flavor evolution showing the many faces of chocolate in one go. The flavors are constantly evolving and never lose intensity or get too much. Exciting and well balanced.
This Standout Chocolate bar is extremely well made, with a silky smooth mouth feel and an effortless melt. Everything I look for in a quality chocolate. As golden as autumn sunlight, it makes my heart sing of joy and reconfirms that good chocolate is a noble product and can offer an amazing experience.
Standout created an ode to fine cocoa and Guatemala, respecting the hard work of the cocoa farmers. A must try for any chocolate aficionado!
General final evaluation:
Visual appeal: 4/5
Melt and mouth feel: 5/5
Flavor profile : 5/5
Overall: 24/25 (*****)