Domori Chocolate – 90% Dark Criollo

Last week I reviewed a milk chocolate, Zotter’s Labooko Nicaragua 50%, that I purchased from the World of Chocolate Café and Museum in Orlando, Florida. I also purchased today’s selection from there. I’m going from the extreme milk chocolate experience to the extreme dark chocolate experience – today’s review is a 90% dark from Domori.

As opposite as these two bars seem, there is something they have in common. They are both rated as “made from a top rated chocolate manufacturer” according to author and taste tester G. Bernardini.

The Domori 90% chocolate is a Criollo blend sourced from Venezuela and made in None, Turin, Italy. According to their website, www.domori.com, they create Domori chocolate for “..its unique aromatic complexity” and to “preserve the aromatic notes naturally found in the Criollo beans.” 

The Domori 90% is small in size and large in price. The bar is only 0.88 ounces and costs $8.25 USD. Needless to say, I expected great things from this little square of chocolate.

My Initial Thoughts About The Domori 90% Criollo Bar

Domori 90% Criollo CacaoAh, the aromas! The aromas are pleasant, delicate, complex, and release intense dried fruit.

But then, I took my first bite. It was the strangest texture experience I’ve ever had. The snap is super hard, and the velvety mouth-feel is non-existent. It felt dry in my mouth and actually stuck to my teeth. The chocolatey flavors took a long time to release. First there were lots of acidic and fruity notes.

Then I tasted what I call “burlap bag” notes (tastes like the smell of the burlap sacks in which the cocoa beans are shipped). To me, that signals beans that are raw, or only slightly roasted.

Was the bar defective or was it me? I decided to check out the website in more detail, hoping to find information that might explain this. I think I found it...

They call their bean to bar manufacturing a “Low-Impact Process.” There are three steps outlined on their website:

  1. Roasting at a low temperature
  2. Conching at a low temperature for a short period of time
  3. Only two ingredients make the bar: cocoa mass and cane sugar.

There's no added cocoa butter (only the amount naturally contained in the cacao bean), no added vanilla, and no added soy lecithin as an emulsifier.

So, What's Going On With This Bar?

After reading this, I can understand why my palate is giving me fits. To explain the texture, dryness, and slow flavor release, the “no added cocoa butter” means this bar is not the melt-in-your-mouth type.

Domori 90% Dark Criollo Cacao Bar and Wrapper

True, cocoa beans contain a high amount of cocoa butter - about 56% - naturally, but adding additional cocoa butter to the formula influences so much of the end product. It increases the flow-ability. It also creates a smooth and creamy sensation in the mouth and it releases flavors quickly.

To explain the missing roasted flavors, that could be due to the low roasting temperature. I enjoy the enhanced and complex flavors that roasting can coax out of cocoa beans, and I’m disappointed to find those flavors missing in this bar.

Of course, I understand, in my head, that there’s something special about eating cacao at its most primitive and natural state of flavor with as little interference from “us” as possible. But in my heart, I love chocolate crafted from the artisans of flavor development.

I tried to keep an open mind and embrace the “preservation of the aromatic notes naturally present in the cocoa beans,” but I had a hard time. I can’t help but think of it this way -- you can drink Scotch Whisky neat, or you can add a drop of water to “open up” the flavors.

And so we have two camps, whether it’s whisky or chocolate. Do you lock it in, or let it go? Do you preserve it or mess with it? I guess I’m a “possibilities” kinda girl. But I enjoyed tasting the other side.

Here's a link to the bar on Amazon. At the time of publishing this post, there were none available to ship.

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Bryn Kirk

Bryn Kirk

Course Facilitator at Chocolate University Online
Bryn worked for nearly 10 years in a research and product development for Ambrosia Chocolate Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now she develops all of the CUO lessons and coaches the members of the Primal Chocolate Club.
Bryn Kirk

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