I was really excited to try Conexión's Virgin 100% bar as it is made from Arriba Nacional Cocoa Beans from the province of Los Rios, Ecuador. I've enjoyed chocolate made from beans from this region, and when I read that this bar was a 2017 Bronze Academy of Chocolate winner I thought this would make for a great chocolate sampling experience.
The description on the company’s website also sparked my interest as it states,
"The beans from this province are minimally processed and flash roasted (Raw) in order to bring out their desirable flavor profile of woody, cocoa, dried fruit, floral, nutty, herb, and caramelized notes.” Conexión Chocolate
Quite intriguing, wouldn't you say?
When I received the box, the bars were accompanied by a postcard featuring a woman making chocolate. How endearing to get a glimpse into the actual process! The packaging was also very bright and festive - a lovely teal Ecuadorian textile pattern covered box that housed a bar sealed in silver plastic.
Upon removing the bar from the silver package, I detected a hint of dried fruit and the earthiness of freshly dug roots. The bar was nicely scored into 15 pieces with concentric diamonds on each piece that matched the pattern on the box. As I gently chewed then allowed the chocolate to melt on my tongue, I experienced a grainy mouthfeel from the cacao nibs. While this may seem off-putting to some, the minimal processing of the beans allows the consumer to experience the natural consistency of the chocolate and a bit of crunch to give you something delicious to chew on. The flash roast may have softened the chocolate’s acidic edge, but there was still enough astringency present to cause my tongue to curl as it does with a highly tannic wine. Since I like highly tannic wines, this was a welcomed experience for me. However, if this causes you to pause, take note that the astringency was leveled out by the accompanying earthiness of the chocolate.
I enjoyed the minimally processed “rawness” of this chocolate. So if you are feeling adventurous and desire a more “natural” chocolate tasting experience, consider Conexión's Virgin 100% bar. It would be worth your while to explore Conexión’s collection of chocolate by visiting their website: https://www.conexionchocolate.com/