Pump Street Madagascar Criollo 74%

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This is a 2015 special edition bar made from genetically rare Criollo beans from Akesson's Organic Estate in Madagascar. It is visually a light-colored dark chocolate due to the white beans that are used. This means you can fool someone into thinking that they are about to eat milk chocolate. I have two sisters who hate dark chocolate (gasp!), so this might come in handy next April Fools.  

As with all Pump Street chocolate bars, each square is a mouthful, being very thick and cocoa buttery. Upon tasting, I notice brightness slowly building, but it doesn't fully develop like I'm expecting. Its character quickly disappears before I fully understand it, so I eat some raw cacao nibs and try again. It comes back a little stronger the second and third time, and I'm able to identify sourness and implied notes of red fruit, raisin, and rose. It has a creamy and smooth texture, with a beautiful melt.

This chocolate is much more subtle than I expected. I wonder if a large amount of cocoa butter is playing a role in preventing the flavors from penetrating through. I like my chocolate to punch me in the face, but that is just preference. What it lacks in punching power, it makes up for in mouthfeel and quality.

Emily Koons