Once again replying to my own posts.
Update: Zokoko has launched a new look website, complete with online store which is cool. Also their Tranquilidad bar is available. This is the bar I eluded to above, which Michelle kindly sent me a sneak peak to taste. Being a more dark chocolate kind of guy I really loved this bar, probably the best bar I have had for some time and certainly one of the more unique. Also tasted great because I didn't expect to receive it....thanks. Congratulations guys on the awards, well deserved!
I just tried ordering from their website and can't select Victoria as a State :-) I have contacted them to let them know and will hopefully get a chance to order some of their bars soon.
(I hope it's just a clerical error and not something against Victorians!! :-)
OK, managed to get my shipment of bars even though I live in Victoria :-)
I bought two of each of their three bars to try and get a good grasp on the chocolates. First impressions were very good. So far I have only tried the 66% Tokiala and 72% Tranquilidad. The 72% Tranquilidad has a bronze from the Academy of Chocolate Awards for 2011 but I actually preferred the 66% Tokiala which didn't have any awards. I found the 66% bar had berry notes which I prefer in chocolate and a smooth finish. In contrast, the 72% bar was more earthy/chocolatey in taste. Really both bars were excellent and it is just my personal preference showing through. I'm looking forward to trying the 68% Alto Beni soon.
I just had the wonderful experience of meeting Gerhard (head chocolatier) and Michelle (owner) of Zokoko. It's an hour and a half drive from my place, but well worth it, as I am still buzzing from the tasting.
I had a blind tasting, which was a bit daunting as I was in front of the two people who made the chocolate. But it was soooo good.
The first, I found out later, was the Alto Beni 68%. Yum. It was like tasting a red wine, blackberry with a little hint of coffee. Interestingly I didn't get the citrus and honey, but then maybe my tastebuds are a little different. It was the best chocolate I have tasted since visiting the Michel Cluizel store in NYC. Very distinctive, vibrant and energetic.
The next one I had a harder time explaining my experience to Gerhard. It brought up the idea of baby, freshly bathed baby skin. There was a newness about it, and a silky smooth feel, almost slippery. It didn't have the same expected earthy chocolateness of the previous one. Michelle told me it was a wild bean, and this I found strange as it did not feel wild, if anything it was very laid back. While the first one had the zing of caffeine, this one was almost like a floating feeling of valium. Now I am probably overanalysing here, but I would prefer the first one, Alto Beni, for lively company, while i would prefer the second one for just chilling out, sharing with friends but not talking.... I suppose it is a bit like sharing a bong with uni mates... except without the numb face and nausea that accompanies it. Actually that is probably a really bad analogy as chocolate is so much better than being stoned. I cannot remember the name of it, from the website I would guess it is the Tranquilidad. Now that makes sense, tranquil. Yes, it was.
The third piece I tried was a totally different experience. All I could think at the time was 'greasy' but that was not it at all. But softer in comparison to the first two pieces. Michelle told me it was very fresh, and this made sense. It was immature, didn't have the complexity and 'wisdom' of the first two pieces. It really was interesting to taste fresh chocolate, I don't think I have ever had fresh chocolate before, except on a farm in Costa Rica which was made right there in front of me... again, a totally different experience.
Anyhow, just thought I would share that experience with you all. Not being a chocolate maker I don't have the experienced palate of others (ie I don't have the same language) but I am a supertaster and love this chocolate. I will be making the trip out to Emu Heights again (preferably when they have finished the roadworks on the M2).
thanks to Gerhard for the invitation and to both Michelle and Gerhard for this wonderful experience.