Category Archives: Papua New Guinea

Omnom Papua New Guinea 70% Dark Chocolate

Omnom Papua New Guinea

Single-origin organic dark chocolate made in Iceland

Holy crap.  This is the most ridiculously funky chocolate I have ever tasted.  Picture this: you’ve pitched an army-surplus canvas tent and then you break open several hundred cigarettes and spread the tobacco over the ground inside the tent.  Zipper the tent closed.  Now lie down on the bed of tobacco.  Breath in deep.  Got that aroma?  Now you’re starting to understand the experience of this dark chocolate.

Before I go any further, let’s back up a bit.  Omnom is a relatively new chocolate brand from Iceland. They’re possibly the only bean-to-bar maker in Iceland.  Omnom is using organic beans from a handful of tropical origins – some as single-origin bars and some apparently as blends.  They’re distinguishing themselves with eye-catching package artwork and unique flavor profiles.

WHAT: Omnom Papua New Guinea 70% Cacao. 60 g (2.1 oz). Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter.

Where to buy Omnom Papua New Guinea.

WHEN: November 30, 2014

OVERALL RATING: 82.

AROMA:  Potent tobacco, canvas, burnt grass, smoke, leather.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Not just tobacco, but cigar wrapper leaf and smoke.

MIDDLE TASTE: Now the fruit appears from behind a curtain of smoke: banana, prune, kiwi, melon and molasses.

FINISH: Kiwi moves into citrus, walnuts then turns earthy and a bit astringent.

TEXTURE: These are thick bars with a little chew to them. Smooth, but not creamy.

Omnom Papua New Guinea Open bar

Wow – this bar has an over the top smoky tobacco and leather aroma that will knock you over.

LAST BITE:  I won’t pretend. There’s no doubt some of you will hate this bar. Those of you with open minds should really try it. Look, stop thinking of chocolate making as striving to a singular point of perfection. How interesting would it be if everyone on the planet looked more or less the same? Not very. Just like diversity in people makes life interesting, so it goes with food – even chocolate.

This is to chocolate what uni is to sushi.  If you’re a sushi neophyte, you don’t start with uni and it’s green-grey formless meat and pungent marine flavors.  Perhaps you start with California roll or maguro and then build your way up to the pleasure of uni, if you ever get there.

Still, all the masculine notes of tobacco, leather and smoke in the Omnom Papua New Guinea dark chocolate are really over the top. I really don’t know if this is intentional or by accident. For instance if the farmers in Papua New Guinea are drying the cacao beans under the heat of a fire of some rather than on terraces under the sun, that would explain a lot. On the other hand, if this is a true expression of the terroir of the bean, that’s real cool. If it can be controlled, I say back off a bit, but don’t try to make it taste like some bland and overworked “drugstore chocolate.” That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Keep the funkiness and stay true to the bean.

Sure, this stuff is not for everyone.  But, if you’re the type that shuns what everyone else is eating, especially tired, bland Swiss chocolate and want a unique experience, eat this bar and laugh.  I did.

Notes:

[1] The chocolate was provided to me for free by the distributor not knowing what I would do with it.

 

 

Amano Morobe Dark Chocolate Review

Amano Morobe Dark Chocolate

Amano Morobe shows a slightly reddish color

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 [1]. 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

Amano Morobe Single Origin Papua New Guinea Dark Chocolate

Amano Morobe dark chocolate package art

WHAT:  Amano Morobe Dark Chocolate.  70% Cacao. 56 g (2 oz). Ingredients: Cocoa beans, Pure cane sugar, Cocoa butter, Whole vanilla beans.  Where to buy Amano Morobe 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.

Notes:

[1] Papua New Guinea is an independent nation that forms the eastern half of New Guinea.

[2] This bar was a sample sent to me by the good folk at Amano Artisan Chocolate.