Chocolate Naive: Milk Chocolate Java / Papua New Guinea
Clean crisp snap. A bar that is beautiful. I've opened it twice before but was not brave enough, to break it. Those times I admired the design then carefully put it back.
Now that I'm brave enough to taste I find interesting scents of caramel and almost yeasty milk with a slight hint at smoke. Smoky, slightly sweet salt caramel notes, Light fruit similar to a star fruit. Malty with hints of cashew. Finishes with notes of smoky cream.
This is the most interesting milk chocolate bar I've tasted in a very long time. Yes, I want more. I break off a second piece, it is still early morning before 6:00am.
Expectations can put you on the wrong track.
This bar was made from a blend of beans originating in Java and Paupa New Guinea. Cacao drying practices in Papua New Guinea typically create a strong smoky flavor. Knowing that, I'd expect smokey notes but what I found wasn't overpowering smoky, instead the chocolate maker has blended beans and ingredients to make an astounding bar with notes of malt and salted caramel, as if it were topped with delicate smoked salt.
Try to learn not to have strong expectations of what you are going to taste. Wait for the chocolate to reveal itself. Let yourself be surprised.
Chocolate Naive chocolatier Domantus Uzpalis sources beans from all over the world but takes great pride celebrating his local heritage by sharing the others that contribute to his chocolate such as his honey supplier, or farmer who makes the butter used in his caramel.
What I didn't realize is that I was in the booth right next to Domantas Uzpalis for a day or two last fall. I wish I had gotten to know him better since he was all the way here from Lithuania. Perhaps he will agree to a Google Hangout soon. Want to join in?