Durci Corona Arriba 70%
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Corona Arriba or, “The Crown Above” is made with a Nacional cocoa bean variety from the highlands of Ecuador. It is part of a project that incentivizes cacao farmers with premium prices to continue to grow heirloom cacao. Although new varieties can be more productive and more disease-resistant, they do not produce the complex flavor of the original heirloom trees.
When speaking with Eric of Durci he said, “This is my personal favorite of all our chocolate bars. I just love this bean. This was the first ever bean that I sourced and was a several-year process before I was able to perfect the fermentation and secure logistics from within Ecuador, finally making this available. It had to be fermented longer and dried faster than normal practices to be able to bring out these unique flavor notes.”
As I’ve stated before, Durci's chocolate seems different than many. People sometimes assume that they add essential oils because their chocolate can be bold and perfumed, comparatively. But let me be clear, they don’t. Their pronounced flavors are due to the way in which they process their beans, the time they devote to specific fermentation techniques, as well as the types of farms and heirloom cacao they seek.
I had been storing this bar for a few months and was ready to review it when Eric asked me to try his new batch first. He graciously sent a few bars our way. The differences between the two are pretty significant, although I could easily 5-star each one. The new batch tastes strongly of banana and vanilla with hints of lime and even mint. It seems sweeter and smells more of caramel chocolate while the last batch is aromatically floral and holds deep flavors of dark fruit like plum or blackberry without the tartness. There is absolutely no acidity or brightness in either version which is a delightful and contrasting experience to many other bars out there.
This is what makes craft chocolate so captivating. Each batch of beans has the potential to change the flavor profile of the bar you’re used to. In a sense, every one may be a limited edition. I want to collect them all. Is this what addiction is like?