If you read this site, you already know Ecuador is an up and coming area for cacao producers. Its various regions offer beans with somewhat different flavor profiles. Just as with wine, geography has an enormous influence on the finished product. Manabi and El Oro hug the coast, while Los Rios is a bit more inland. This results in the Arriba beans from Los Rios having a more roasted flavor than those from Manabi or El Oro.
Republica Del Cacao has a new bar from Los Rios that is one of the best 85% chocolates I have ever had the joy to eat. There are only 6 grams of sugar, five grams of protein, and 18% of your iron for the day in a 40 gram portion. The low sugar content might make you think the chocolate bitter, but it isn’t. It’s earthy, slightly tannic, and manages to be both creamy and a little dry texturally. Unlike many bars of this percentage, it kept me coming back for more. At the same time, each bite was very satisfying. That may sound contradictory, but it really isn’t. I could have stopped with one rectangle, but my curiosity kept wanting another taste. There’s something intriguing that snuck up on me. Maybe it was the undertone of plummy, dark fruit notes? All I can say is if you gravitate towards bars of this ilk and intensity, give Republica’s a try.
The Arriba bean is known for it’s gentle flavor profile, so experiencing an 85% concentration takes it up a notch in depth and complexity.
I love their new package. It’s a thin cardboard envelope that keeps any stray bits from migrating where you don’t want them. Inside, the bar is wrapped in coated paper that is easy to open neatly.
You may want to read about their other offerings on my two previous reviews: