Sunday, January 23, 2011

Domori Cacao Criollo Javablond (70%)



25g (0.88oz) bar
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar


I bought Domori's Javablond bar at Cacao in Portland, Oregon. The salesclerk, a smoker, described it as reminding him of a flake of tobacco ember on the tongue (I hope I'm remembering that right). While I wasn't sure I'd enjoy the bar the way he did, I was sufficiently intrigued.

Corporate Info: A Google search on Italy's Domori mostly finds retailers and the occasional layperson like me, not news articles or other credible sources of information. (One minor exception is a short blog post from 2005 by famed pastry chef David Lebovitz.) Domori is a subsidiary of gruppo illy, which also owns several other high-end brands including the obvious illycaffè. Otherwise I'll refrain from making any claims about Domori as a company and just point you to the area of its website that talks about cacao types, ingredient traceablity, and so on. It's not all that enlightening, but the focus (whether in reality or just marketing terms) seems to be on quality and flavor. So that's nice.

Appearance: Javablond is a thin, flat bar in reddish-orange medium brown, a bit darker than it looks in the photos here.

Smell: Like dried fruit, especially raisins. I know that's “snooty reviewer stuff,” but that's what this bar smells like to me.

Taste: Ooh! Very smooth and creamy, sweet, bitter, super interesting.

Snooty Reviewer Stuff: On first taste I just think “bitter,” but if I visualize smoky flavor, I definitely find something tangible to connect the concept with, if that makes sense. I can even see what the salesclerk meant by the idea of a smoky ember, though as a nonsmoker I don't think I'd identify tobacco in such a subtle form. The dried fruit I smelled is there too, but the fruitiness is more of a full, round foundation to the distinct bitterness that sits on top of it. There's a long, lingering bitter aftertaste, but it's mellow, not harsh, and so not unpleasant. The creamy texture is a great pairing for the strong flavor.

By the way, this is what Domori's site says about the Javablond bar: “Notes of tobacco, red fruits, smoked notes, and notes of underbrush. Pungent with great persistence and mildness.” I avoided reading this until after describing the bar myself, but it meshes fairly well with my experience.

Final Thoughts: FYI, this ain't no cheap chocolate, something like $5 for less than an ounce. A fun treat, though.

Conclusion: Domori Cacao Criollo Javablond is creamy, fruity, and smoky.

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