Amano Morobe 70%

Art Pollard, the founder of Amano Chocolate, has a new offering for those of us who are dyed-in-the-wool fans of his beautiful, unique bars: Morobe. This time, the beans hail from Papua New Guinea.

Out of curiosity, I did a little internet sleuthing and learned how challenging it is to create an un-bitter bar from these particular beans. Fortnum and Mason, the famous food purveyors in England, makes one and a number of people have commented on its bitterness. Amano’s rendition wouldn’t know a bitter note if it tripped on it.

As I tasted another square of this beguiling bar, I was struck by its fruity aroma. The scent is mildly astringent, clean, and fresh, preparing your palate for the chocolate’s fruity bliss point ahead. (“Bliss point” is an economic term used to describe the exact place where your experience is optimized; before or beyond it your joy decreases.)

I don’t always notice the color of the chocolate I eat, as most dark bars are dark. This one is a bit lighter, which struck me as paradoxical, since the flavor is so full-bodied with leather, light smoke, dark berries, and a hint of citrus, all culminating in an un-dry finish. I mention the finish since so many dark bars have a characteristically dry aftertaste. If that has turned you away from the 70% range, let this one beckon with its complexity and lingering smoothness.

When one speaks of tempering, it is customary to use words like snap, but this chocolate requires a new lexicon. The sound it makes when you break off a piece is more like a crack than a snap. It’s as if the bar has its own little tectonic shift when you separate any part of it; but, it is not brittle. Somehow, there’s still a luscious creaminess to the texture. Quite a feat, and one that I have always admired in some other high end chocolates.

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