The Ultimate Chocolate

by Doc-G on October 10, 2006

I’ve just had a chocolate epiphany!

I remember when my daughter was born in London, I had many nights sitting in watching TV. One night on a food show on the BBC, they featured a chocolate that was for all intensive purposes mad by a mad-man.

Claudio Corallo, an Italian agriculture specialist has found and is reviving an old Cocoa plantation on the island of Principe, an old slave island relic of the Portugese empire and part of the tiny African country of Sao Tome. According to Corallo, the Cocoa plants are original plants that were untouched since the process of hybridisation which has taken much of the taste out the the chocolate that is currently produced. The plants were brought to the island during the 1820′s and must be protected from the harsh sunlight by a high canopy of trees above the jungle floor. Whilst the yields on these plants are very low, the taste of the chocolate produced is out of this world.

It has taken Corallo nine years to kick-start this operation and despite this, it still remains small. The work is very labour intensive and much time is spent reclaiming land back from the jungle and because of its remoteness, every piece of machinery has to be shipped it. Corallo and his wife work to produce the Coacoa and have both taken ill with malaria on several occasions. With this sort of commitment, it is obvious that this is an extreme labour of love.

This exquisite chocolate is available from Fortnum and Mason in London and during recent travels I managed to purchase some and try it.

The first piece I tried were the ‘chocolate nibs’, fragments of fermented and dried cocoa beans.
Chocolate nibs

They have an interesting texture, somewhat crunchy and yet somewhat smooth, paradoxical I know but as you bite into a piece and start to chew it, the chocolate starts to melt and coat your mouth whilst the fragments of bean provide a hard somewhat unyielding texture. The immediate taste on the tongue is the familiar bittersweet that one would associate with all really good chocolate, but it is the aromatic component which smashes you sideways. This is truly unlike any chocloate experience you have ever had before.

They also do straight chocolate of two varieties, one stronger and one milder according to the cocoa content, which from memory is 100% for the stronger and around 60% for the milder.
Chocolate

Again, the taste sensation is the same as the chocolate nibs but the texture is obviously smoother. The aromatic component which I mentioned before is complex. Eating this chocolate is like tasting a top quality red wine with intermingling layers that descend upon the palate like close friends. The stronger of the two is obviously more bitter but both would be described as somewhat more savoury from sweet.

At the end of the day, at around seventy seven pounds per kilo, this is not the sort of thing you would eat every day but every once in a while if you can get the chance, grab it!

For more information on this chocolate, visit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/06/19/wchoc19.xml

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