Leave it to Amano Artisan Chocolate to uncover a crop of superior cacao beans from far-off reaches of the planet and surprise us, yet again, with another unique dark chocolate. For their newest bar, Morobe, they bring back beans from the South Pacific – Papua New Guinea to exact. Although it’s only a few hundred miles north of Australia, New Guinea doesn’t resemble the more arid and flat landscape of its gigantic southern neighbor . Rather, New Guinea is lush with volcanic soil, ample rainfall and vibrant jungles thanks to Mt. Wilhelm,the highest point in Oceania. This is a place where cacao trees can thrive.
I was disappointed when Amano had discontinued their Jembrana single-origin Bali Dark Chocolate with its earthy, peaty aroma and fruit / floral notes, but pleased to see that they have quickly replaced it with something equally exotic. Let’s see if Morobe lives up to its predecessor.
Single Origin Papua New Guinea Dark Chocolate
WHEN: August 7, 2011
OVERALL RATING: 90.
AROMA: Berry tart, blackberry cobbler, chocolate croissant, ham.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: There is a pronounced and immediate note of citrus / lime.
MIDDLE TASTE: Orange, cranberry, grapefruit, butterscotch, lime.
FINISH: An ultra clean finish fades into a buttery warmth. No bitter notes or acid on finish, just a smooth lingering ride.
TEXTURE: Amano smooth.
LAST BITE: Leave it to Amano to make something that is both delightful and dumbfounding. I’ve never experienced such clear citrus notes in a chocolate. This is truly unique stuff. The note of lime seemed impossibly clear appearing as soon as the chocolate hit my tongue and hanging on well into the bitter-less finish.
Whenever I come across a chocolate that stumps me (in the sense that I can’t believe what I am tasting), I ask my wife, Genevieve to render an opinion. She eats every chocolate that I test, of course, but I usually don’t ask her to work too hard at it by doing a serous review. With no input from me, she came back with “…plum, raspberry, lime. The texture is remarkable!” Taking my investigation deeper, I contacted Amano to find out what bean variety they use for this chocolate. The answer came back: “it’s proprietary information.” No harm, no foul, Amano. If that’s what it takes to keep making great chocolate, I’m happy to keep it a mystery.
 Papua New Guinea is an independent nation that forms the eastern half of New Guinea.
 This bar was a sample sent to me by the good folk at Amano Artisan Chocolate.