Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tcho: Beta Batch No. C Ghana 0.7 AH
Mmm, what a tasty name! Yes, I got my hands on a lovely and pristine Tcho Beta Batch No. C Ghana 0.7 AH bar.
Tcho is one of the newest American chocolate factories, this one located in the Bay Area, which has no lack of chocolate factories as it is. They proudly state that they’re the only chocolate factory in San Francisco.
Instead of making a package that accommodates a 12 section bar, they make the long bars, snap them in half, stack them and then insert them into these waxed kraft paper square packets.
It makes for a unique look, but makes me wonder why they don’t just make the chocolate that size to begin with. Or design the package to fit the bar.
Tcho eschews things like cacao percentages, varietal & origin, instead focusing on easily understood classifications for their chocolates. This one is called C - which stands for Chocolatey. According to the flavor wheel included, it might have been citrusy, fruity, floral, nutty or earthy. (I’m not sure what the letters for those are ... that would make two possible Cs and two possible Fs.)
The ingredients are simple:
The bars are 50 grams (1.76 ounces) ... though you wouldn’t know that once you got a hold of it. It’s not on the package, just on the website.
The chocolate smells sweet, a bit woodsy and a lot like bourbon vanilla.
It’s very dark, very brown (no hint of red or caramel tones here).
It’s only mildly sweet on the tongue, as it melts it’s a bit rough ... not quite chalky as it does have a good level of cocoa butter, but the particle size is a bit big for my texture preference. I was pleased with the deep rich flavors. There are dark cedars, tobacco and a bit of a mulchy note that almost pushes it into the earthy realm except for the consistent feeling that I’m eating hot chocolate.
The finish continues with a lingering woodsy note and a rather parching dryness. Overall, it’s a satisfying bar. After four squares, I didn’t feel like I wanted more for quite a while.
Personally I prefer a butterier bar, a nuttier set of notes. But this tops some of my experiences with the very dark bars from Theo (which I haven’t written up) but does not beat out the Amano or Chocovic Ocumare (okay, not American-made) or Guittard Chucuri.
I’m hoping Tcho has figured out their shipping problems. (More on that history here.) Just a note, they shipped my replacement bars on a Friday over a holiday weekend, not really a good tactic either, they arrived on Tuesday and though everything turned out fine, unless the USPS made it overnight, the package was guaranteed to sit around for at least two days. (I’ve talked to many candy shippers, I don’t know many that would ship chocolate products on a Friday, and certainly not when Monday was a mail holiday.) A note went out to the folks on their email marketing list that they were implementing hot weather shipping. My second package didn’t have any warm weather protection, it was the exact same metallic bubble wrap envelop folded tightly over and taped. If you’ve ordered from them more recently than February, maybe you can chime in with how yours arrived.
Clay Gordon has an extensive article about Tcho on The Chocolate Life. I was sure to not read through it until after I’d done my tasting notes.
I might try this again, but I’m much keener on trying other bars from companies that I’ve either developed an affinity for or some of the other new chocolate makers like DeVries, Taza, Rogue Chocolatier or Askinosie (I have one of those already in my hands). The price is a bit steep as well, they’re now $5 on the site and with the shipping, that’s a steep price for less than two ounces that are still in beta. It was supposed to feel like a fun experiment, like I was part of something, but I think I’ll leave it to others to work out the kinks.
POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:16 am
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.