As I’m nearing the end of the Alphabet, I seem to be losing enthusiasm for the last remaining letters. Somehow I just don’t have the same connection to origins as I did with company names (Round 1 of this project) or inclusion ingredients (Round 2). It probably doesn’t help when I don’t even know how to properly pronounce the name of the place I’m featuring…like this one: Udzungwa!
From online sources, the Udzungwa Mountains are the largest and most southern in a chain of eleven mountain ranges that form what is called the Eastern Arc. As the name implies, these mountains curve in a crescent shaped grouping starting in Tanzania and continuing north into Kenya toward Mount Kilimanjaro, which (I believe) is not part of the Arc.
The website of the WWF (World Wide Fund, formerly called World Wildlife Fund) describes the Udzungwa Mountains National Park as supporting a diverse community of wildlife including elephants, lions, eland, monkeys and leopards. Now it makes sense that Ocelot chose a leopard-like pattern for this particular 88% dark chocolate bar!
I love that the re-sealable, oxo-degradable plastic inner pouch calls to mind the tropical rainforest which is also found in Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains. You can almost hear the wind rustling through the leafy canopy.
Removing the thin bar from the packaging, I was mesmerized by the detailed mold that was used. Each of the 9 rectangles is etched with a different portion of the bigger image of a cacao tree with several pods in multiple stages of ripeness.
Honestly, I was surprised that this bar was not as dark in color as I was expecting from an 88%. You could almost be fooled into thinking this was a dark milk chocolate until you smelled and tasted it!
There was a robust, earthy and roasted aroma straight out of the packaging. Silky smooth texture to the touch while segmenting pieces with a medium snap, revealing some air bubbles at the break point.
Immediately bitter on the palate and at the back of the throat during the slow, even melt with some astringency on the finish. A second taste brought out fruity notes which reminded me of grapefruit pith and a buttermilk/yogurt tang appeared during a third taste. The astringency seemed to increase with each subsequent taste such that it quickly became somewhat not enjoyable for me. Maybe it’s just that I prefer bars in the 70-85% range?! I can think of several friends who would love this bar!
Thanks to Rachel (foodnerd4life) in the UK for having sent me three of Ocelot’s bars as part of our inaugural chocswap. Not sure why I didn’t research the chocolate makers behind this Edinburgh, Scotland brand earlier, but I really enjoyed reading this article about Matt and Ish who started their chocolate business one week after getting married!
If you are interested in buying some of their bars for yourself, please visit their website: https://ocelotchocolate.com/
Personally, the Fig & Orange bar is next on my wish list 🙂
P.S. On a separate note, it’s not too late to find a chocolate gift for your sweetie for Valentines’ Day. Here is a link to an article I wrote with some unique ideas: https://feast.media/looking-for-love-these-5-valentines-day-ideas-will-give-you-an-edge