Based in Portland, Oregon, Woodblock Chocolate makes a range of bean-to-bar chocolate including a handful of single origin bars - Tanzania, Madagascar, Peru - and some fun inclusion bars.
Madagascar Sambirano 70%
Aroma: umami – cured meat, vinegar, mushroom, sundried tomatoes, chili powder, raisin
Flavor: Very tangy – lemon, passionfruit; dried cherry/cranberry, fresh green flavors, grape, brownie, a little woodiness, a slight citrusy bitterness, an umami richness rounds it out. Those are the dominant flavors, but if you taste carefully there are more subtle layers of caramel and honey as well.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. A well-made Madagascar bar with intense, distinct flavors that make for a great tasting – I will be looking for this bar again so I can bring it to my next tasting party.
Batch info: Batch #80; Enjoy by August 2020
Ecuador Balao 70%
Aroma: astringent, starch, dusty soil, dry leaves
Flavor: Notes of rich chocolate, vanilla, black tea, and orange rind with a fair amount of astringency, which unfortunately kind of dominates the flavor profile.
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. The texture was great and there were pleasant flavors underneath, so I don’t want to write it off. I made a point to taste another bar from Woodblock, their Madagascar Sambirano bar, which was excellent (review coming soon for that one). So, for the moment I’ll chalk this up to a difficult batch of beans, and pick up another bar next time I’m in Portland.
Batch info: Batch #44, Enjoy by July 2020
Peru Cajamarca 70%
Aroma: slightly starchy, astringency, spices
Flavor: licorice, molasses, black olive, floral, spice cake, a little astringency, grapefruit, lemon rind, very soft red fruit notes, walnut, rich chocolate notes especially on the finish
Recommendation: Recommended. Peruvian beans vary widely, from rich and delicate to woody and astringent. They can be challenging, but Woodblock handles them beautifully, toning down the astringency and bringing out a subtle complexity with fruity, floral, and spice notes that are sometimes lost in bars from this origin.
Batch info: Batch # 71; Enjoy by August 2020