Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chocolate Review: Hageland Costa Rica 71%

By Benjamin Skipper

I was browsing around a Wal-mart during my last months in Michigan when I was suddenly enticed by the beckoning picture of a golden dog demon from the various shelves of chocolate, and I couldn't resist picking it up. It seems awfully high-class to be found in such a place as Wal-mart, and even more surprising is that it's apparently only carried by them exclusively. I couldn't even find an online shopping venue! Anyhow, the demonic chocolate is Hageland's 71% Costa Rica, and it marks another foray into single-origin bars.

To get one vice out of the way, the bar looks lazily designed, rivaling the lack of inspiration seen in Theo bars. The whole bar is divided into squares that are slightly raised into a partial dome shape, with these high ridges on the end that almost look like handles for gripping. There is positively no artwork or company branding anywhere, so it's entirely plain and boring, though I appreciate enough that it's clean looking and cut precisely. Otherwise, it has a dull glossiness that doesn't qualify as a shine and a quiet "clicking" snap, making overall mediocre aesthetics.

The perfume is complex with nutty and sharp fruit traits, with a floral overtone permeating everything. In tasting, things start off with a hit of coffee and warmly spiced cocoa, slowly transitioning through a fruity period and ending with smoked cocoa. It's soft, slow-melting, and kind of lumpy, but at least is acceptable texturally. Eating without care, the dominant theme seems to be the fruity tones.

It's not a dazzling or assertive flavor sensation, given many of the notes are mild, but I like it. The complexity of the factors to pay attention to alone makes for a more enjoyable experience, demanding the use of one's intellect and precise attention. However, I much prefer Godiva's single-origin bar over this one, for theirs is much sharper and assertive, not to neglect a little cheaper too.

It was a nice treat, but probably one I won't exert to obtain again. It's worthy, though at the same time it's passable given better alternatives.

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