Beau Cacao Asajaya Malaysia 73%

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Beau Cacao is winning at the beauty contest: the packaging, the bar, the logo, the website, the photography. I admit, I often look past a bar on the shelf if it is not visually on-point, and will avoid photographing and reviewing it if it doesn't look professional. There was no hesitation here.

The art is a collaboration between founders Bo San Cheung and Thomas Delcour, and Mark Bloom of London’s SocioDesign, with Adam Gill focusing his efforts on the mold. Each wrapper features patterns influenced by textiles from Borneo and color palettes inspired by the bars’ tasting notes, all printed on beautifully foiled, recycled paper.

At just one year old, Beau Cacao is relatively new to the chocolate scene, but it has accomplished a lot in its short time, already drawing the attention of chocolate connoisseurs and media around the world.

The company is focusing its efforts on cacao from Malaysia. The Asajaya Estate, run by Mr. Chang, is “an almost hidden, luscious cacao plantation that is beautifully pruned and perfectly maintained," according to their website. "The trees are spread out equally throughout the estate, with other crops for shelter like coconut and banana trees."

My bar is numbered 1309 of 4,500 for the 2014 harvest. The aroma is one of raisin, honey, and dried peach. The texture is smooth and glossy in the mouth. The first thing I taste is what I would call "street spices," the kind you find as you walk the open markets of a foreign country. Nuances of sandalwood, cocoa powder, and bread are also present with an acidity and cooling sensation on the tongue. My personal preference is for a hint less cocoa butter with a little more flavor presence. This is certainly a thought-provoking chocolate bar. I'll be keeping my eye on Beau Cacao!

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Emily KoonsComment