I reviewed Guido Castagna's Lacri Blend 76% Madagascar quite some time ago and thoroughly enjoyed the flavour profile and high quality eating experience it offered. Here we have another 76% blend apart from this time beans from the Arriba area, produced from cacao in the upriver areas of the Guayas River in the lowland of Ecuador and considered to be the finest cacao source in Ecuador. Like the other bar this also has a 48hour conch time, ensuring that not all of the beans delicate flavours are not broken down but still trying to achieve an optimum texture for the bar.
I guess whether you're a fan or not of this particular bar depends on your personal preference in terms of the flavour profiles you look for in a bar; unfortunately I much preferred the Madagascar blend. I found it quite a bitter drying chocolate bar. The melt is good but it leaves your mouth feeling dry and wanting as opposed to luxuriously enrobed.
You're hit with strong notes of tobacco and molasses that as the bar melts develop into deep red fruit notes, wine, red grapes and plums, leaving you with a slight subtle hint of acidity in the mouth. If I could use one word to describe this bar it would be robust, if you like your dark chocolate bars deep, dark and bitter, then this is the one for you.
If I had to describe this bar as a situation/experience it would be sitting inside on a dark wet winter's night with a cigar and a deep glass of red wine - unfortunately I am not fond of either, which is probably why I wasn't as keen on this bar. That's not to say that it is not well made though; you can tell from the sheen on the bar and the clean snap that it has been produced superbly; unfortunately the flavour profile just doesn't float my boat.
Taste - 6.5/10 - I feel it's difficult for me to judge this as I wasn't keen on it but think it's just down to personal preference - which the score reflects; others however may love this.
Texture - 6.2/10 - Too much of a drying melt for me.
Appearance - 8.3/10 - Bar is packaged beautifully.
Price - 7.2/10 - Searching online this bar is priced at €5.00 for a 100g bar, even though I wasn't a fan of the flavour profile I must admit this is a great affordable price for a high quality chocolate bar such as this.
Overall - 7/10 - Not to my tastes, but may be to many others.
____________________________________________________________________________________ WHO FOR?
Lovers of robust, deep and smoky dark chocolate.
WHERE TO BUY?Online at Guido Castagna's website here.