Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pacari Los Rios 72% Dark Chocolate

The Dark Chocolate Blog goes bean-to-bar in Ecuador with the excellent Pacari Los Rios bar:

Manufacturer: Pacari
Cocoa Content: 72%
Location: Ecuador
Manufacturer Website
Rating: A

Today's review is Pacari's Los Rios 72% dark chocolate bar. The bar is made from beans originating in the Los Rios region is west-central Ecuador. The bar is a deep, purplish-brown color.

On the palate, the Los Rios leads with a rich chocolate note. There are some herbal/floral and grassy notes up front as well. The acidity starts at a moderate level then builds from there. Key lime is the most notable fruit flavor, and there are some blackberries here as well. There is a nice evolution from a bit of an herbal bitter note that develops into Key lime along with a hint of lemongrass as the acidity licks in. Some woody notes and cinnamon are here along with a touch of cream as well. Chewing the Los Rios highlights lime zest and chestnuts. The melt is fairly smooth with a slight cooling sensation. On the tail end the fruit simmers down revealing nutty notes over some lingering Key Lime.

The bars from Pacari have been a bit of a mixed bag for me up to this point. The Los Rios totally solves the issues I've seen with construction issues and flavor near-misses from Pacari in the past. This really shows the amazing potential of the Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional cacao beans. There is a nice, distinct Key lime flavor here with herbal and berry undertones that compliment it nicely. The flavor reminds me of some of the top-end Madagascan Sambirano Valley dark chocolates. Outside of the Waialua Estate, this is the best single-country bean-to-bar chocolate I've come across. If you're looking to sample Ecuadorian chocolate, or are interested in the potential of bean-to-bar chocolate, then this is the bar to try.

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