Based in the lovely city of Madison, Wisconsin, William Marx makes bean-to-bar chocolate with fairly traded cacao and unrefined cane sugar.
Nicaragua Tenor 85%
Aroma: Pleasant. Coffee beans, cocoa powder, cocoa shells
Flavor: Mostly earthy but a tiny bit of fruit. Ripe avocado, dry red wine with slight tannic notes, unsweetened cranberry juice, vanilla, wood, coffee beans, heavy cream, cocoa butter, flavor is light and fades quickly, leaving a clean feeling on the tongue. Relatively little inherent sweetness, slight bitterness, slight tannic dryness. Perfectly smooth melt.
Recommendation: Recommended. Unusual, unique beans, and Wm does a beautiful job bringing out their distinct character – you can tell the chocolate is well-made. I enjoyed this bar and would definitely recommend incorporating it into a tasting line-up. I can also highly recommend the Ghana and Venezuela Porcelana bars from Wm – some of the best iterations of those origins that I have had.
Batch info: Batch 263, 2018 Harvest, Best by September 25, 2020
Venezuela Porcelana 70%
Aroma: raisin, dried figs, butter, molasses
Flavor: Lovely unique, distinct but subtle fruit notes – peach, raspberry, honeydew, raisins, dried figs, grapes. Smooth and creamy chocolate flavors – hot chocolate, Nutella, and complex sweetness – molasses, crème fraiche, butter, honey, marshmallow, very slight licorice, hazelnut. Criollo mellowness but more towards the fruity side. No astringency, not bitterness. Great smoothly melting texture.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. The distinct but mellow fruit notes in this bar are really unique and it achieves a beautiful balance of complexity and mellowness.
Batch info: Batch 249; 2018 Harvest; Best by November 2020
Aroma: cocoa mulch, hint of cinnamon sticks, cinnamon cookies, woody
Flavor: Deep chocolate flavor like chocolate pudding, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon teddy grahams, soft lemon, malt, some brown fruit sweetness – raisins and fig jam. A soft pudding-like texture when melted. Very mellow – not bitter, not astringent, not tangy.
Recommendation: Recommended. A nice example of the distinct classic chocolate flavors of Ghana, with additional flavor notes skillfully brought out. A very pleasant chocolate to snack on or to include in a tasting.
Batch info: Batch no. 246, Harvest year 2016, Best by December 2019.