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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review:  Willie's Peruvian 70

     
Willie's Peruvian 70 
Posted: 12 September 2011    9.0 
Willie's Peruvian 70 Like the Madagascan, there are fruit notes.    What set this apart from the Madagascan was that the beans had a background taste that was earthier.   The chocolate's delicious, so on that count, Willie is successful.  Mr. Willie Harcourt-Cooze may not be the ideal candidate to cater your cacao-free Middle Eastern dinner party, marry your sister and make her happy, and be there for the kids' cricket games and badminton bashes. Thank goodness you can still count on him to produce a tasty chocolate bar.
Avg price/gram: USD 0.06   Cocoa %: 70  Size: 80g  British chocolate 
       


After reviewing Willie's Madagascan 71, I knew I was onto something good.  I love knocking pretentious chocolate manufacturers down a notch or two . . . or ten.  Willie, however, has earned his ratings.  Big Bad Bryan, the Australian who introduced me to Willie's chocolates, had seen Willie's British television specials.  He echoed the sentiments spoken of by many that Willie ain't the easiest fellow in the UK to live with.  Willie puts cacao in absolutely every dish!   A pad thai with cacao or Korean ginseng cacao chicken would drive anyone nuts.  Every tried kimchi with cacao?  Willie probably has  The guy had put the livelihood of himself, his wife, and three kids on the line to keep their hacienda in Venezuela a chugging along to develop his British chocolate brand.       

His Peruvian 70 is almost the same cacao concentration as the Madgascan 71 but sourced from the San Martin province of Peru.  I'd tried a Peruvian blend near 70% with Duc De Praslin.  We'll pretend that experience never happened, shall we?  This was the first quality Peruvian bean bar I've ever tried.  It was just as delicious as the Madagascan.  Willie again mentions "long forgotten flavors" but this time with "subtle, tropical fruit notes." 

Like the Madagascan, there are fruit notes.   I couldn't tell you if they were tropical, subtropical, or from northern Scandinavia.  What set this apart from the Madagascan was that the beans had a background taste that was earthier, and I could make out those same Peruvian earthy tones in the Duc De Praslin Peruvian bar . . . or was that just excrement?    The Duc and Willie shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence.  The Duc is just a brand name slapped onto some inferior chocolate made by a Belgian manufacturer willing to let others slap any brand name on it.  Willie, on the other hand, is a bean-to-bar stud.  If I knew any women who were obsessed with chocolate manufacturing -- I don't -- they'd sleep with a guy like Willie or at least sleep with his bars. 

The chocolate's delicious, so on that count, Willie is successful; but success seems to have eluded the poor guy on the financial and sexual fronts.  From what I've gathered Willie is a micro-organizer.  He focuses on all the small things which need to happen for him to create luscious tasting chocolate.  Meanwhile, while all that micro stuff is going on, the macro goes down the toilet.  The ever patient wife Tania seen in the Willie's TV specials separated from choco Willie in 2010 and has filed for divorce as of 2011.  Were chocolate eggs and chocolate sausages the straw that broke the camel's back and gave Tania that final case of indigestion for which she could not forgive Willie?    Or was it the fact Willie neglected his 3 young kiddies because he was putting in choco-time down at the factory?  

As tasty as Willie's chocolate is, don't expect to be tasting it anytime soon.  The operation just isn't built for economies of scale.  According to Willie, "The old original machines that I've sourced, mainly in Europe, may be smaller and slower than today's modern machines -- which are made for speed and commercial profitability -- but they capture the subtle notes and unique flavors of our cacao in a way modern machines are unable to.  I restored a traditional 1920's batch roaster and antique conching tanks from Spain that growl and groan and thud as they process the beans.  It all takes time . . ."  And time is money.  Is Willie using old equipment because he can't afford better, yet spins the lack in positive way so that it appears an asset to be using 100-year old machinery?  Or is century-old machinery truly superior for capturing the subtle notes and unique flavors?  If Kraft eventually decides to buy Willie's out as another artisan chocolate manufacturer and ditches the Victorian machinery, then we'll have our answer -- and possibly bad chocolate as well.     

Mr. Willie Harcourt-Cooze may not be the ideal candidate to cater your cacao-free Middle Eastern dinner party, marry your sister and make her happy, and be there for the kids' cricket games and badminton bashes.  Thank goodness you can still count on him to produce a tasty chocolate bar.   

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