Scharffen Berger Papua New Guinea Single Origin Bar Review

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scharffen berger papua new guineaI should be responsible here and say 3 things: 1) I am not a fan of PNG chocolate as it tends to have flavour notes I don’t particularly like 2) I don’t trust their tasting notes after the Ferry Building incident 3) I didn’t like the last Scharffen Berger single origin Ben Tre and I don’t have high hopes here so I did avoid trying this bar for about 2 months. Why buy it, you wonder? I am the eternal optimist.

Now, I have nothing against PNG chocolate per se – I just find that the kinds I have had have all had a smoky edge. Not sure if that is an issue with how they are fermenting, dying or roasting but I have trouble believing in a bean that comes off the tree with an edge of smoke. So there you have it – why I don’t like Jura whisky and why I don’t like PNG chocolate – smoke.

scharffen berge rpapua new guinea barSo I had trouble believing it when the paper wrapper didn’t mention the smoky edge to the chocolate. I’ve included the tasting notes for just this reason – that and the fact that I don’t agree with them at all so you should have the opportunity to know both sides of the story.

What did I think? Was it lightly fruity with notes of cherry and raisin? Not for me it didn’t, no. I think this is one of those occasions where either they accidentally put the wrong tasting notes on the bar or have never bothered to check what this bar ages like. It might be nice to include a note something along the lines of “but after 2 or 3 months, the fruit disappears, leaving behind nutty notes with an edge of smoke which starts at the beginning and builds throughout” or something similar.

I got nothing from the wrapper but for the vanilla – and I think we know why we all get vanilla from *some* single origin bars. Perhaps I am infair – I did like this bar miles better than their Ben Tre and I think if you wanted to choose a single origin bar from CScharffen Berger I would recommend this of the two. Would I buy it again? I’m not a fan of the smoke so no but if I was and I didn’t have anyone else’s Papua New Guinea bar to buy then I’d go for it because it is a decent single origin. At this size though I would expect them to be closer to doing more great things like Hotel Chocolat.

Perhaps American palettes simple are not as refined and perhaps American chocolate buyers are not as demanding as British ones…?

About Judith Lewis

Editor and chief blogger at Mostly About Chocolate. Expert SEO. judge at various chocolate awards, wine awards, and all the Search Awards. Judith is passionate about food, wine, and travel.

5 Responses to Scharffen Berger Papua New Guinea Single Origin Bar Review

  1. I do recall trying this bar with you, Judith, and liking it more than you did. As we both know, tasting chocolate is such a personal experience — just as tasting wines and other culinary delights.

    To answer your Q, yes, I do believe that British palates are more refined than Americans when it comes to chocolate as the Brits have such an abundance of top-notch chocolatiers who are leading the Chocolate Revolution. I can’t believe how British chocolate has changed in the past few years! It was always known for being far too sweet, but wow! Has it changed!

    Too many Americans are hooked on chocolate candy vs seeking out chocolate excellence. So it is harder for chocolatiers in NA to change the palate preferences of their customers. I’ve heard the same thing from chocolatiers in South America.

  2. Paul Barker says:

    PNG cocoa and chocolate comes with many different flavours, buts it’s interesting that a few years ago when a research/extension program was geared to getting producers/processors of beans to remove the smokey flavour of some cocoa there was a sharp rebuke from some buyers in Europe that they are particularly going for and expecting that characteristic, at least from some cocoa from PNG, and that it shouldn’t be removed, at least not from all cocoa…

    • Judith Lewis says:

      Thanks for sharing that Paul. I was just slightly confused about where it was coming from (smoke) but also why it wasn’t listed as a flavour note on the wrapper when I was tasting it. Kind of makes you doubt your sanity at times 😉 but I’m no smoke lover so not, possibly a fair judge but it all comes to personal taste so someone who likes peaty whisky and smoke flavours is going to enjoy this bar 🙂

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