The 70% Solution: Tasting Notes on Tcho "Fruity" Dark Chocolate
Ben Calderwood Tcho tasting bar with proprietary flavor wheel visible on the package
The 70% Solution intentionally fudges the numbers by a few percentage points (the pun, Mom's honor, is accidental) to introduce Squid Ink tasters to Tcho, the world's first internet chocolate.
Producer: Tcho, San Francisco.
Bean: Peruvian single origin.
Content: 68% cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla.
Notes: Technology has not sufficiently advanced to the point where a FIOS account can mitigate the need for a mouth, but Tcho, the offspring of a chocolate industry vet, a NASA contractor and Wired Magazine co-founder Louis Rossetto, has embraced the philosophy of a Silicon Valley start-up from product development to manufacture and sale. Each square tasting bar is printed with a spacey matrix weave ripped straight from Wolfram Research's Mathematica. Tcho routinely solicits comments on "beta" batches from their online Tasters Circle, and they are the only chocolate maker I have ever encountered that describes their process in terms of "operating heuristics."
Nutty, Fruity, Citrus and Chocolaty--four wedges of Tcho's flavor wheel--have gone golden master, and the dot-com chocolatiers have delivered on the premise. Their 68% Peruvian fair trade Fruity bar reveals loads of bright red fruit: cherry and raspberry with a quiet hint of currant and raisin. This is nothing like the marinated, fig-heavy, prosciutto e melone fruit notes favored by European chocolate houses. This is sweet and approachable--like Tcho's Chocolaty, an ideal eating bar. Tcho buffers the sweetness with a twist of cream and a clean, acidic snap that bakes on the tongue well after you polish off the 60 gram taster. Nutty is also recommended, while Citrus could use a version 2.0. Floral and Earthy remain unreleased alpha bars, or pre-alpha perhaps--still pods on the tree, waiting for the Tcho chocolate wonks to discover them.