The 70% Solution: Tasting Notes on Tcho "Fruity" Dark Chocolate

Tcho tasting bar with proprietary flavor wheel visible on the package
Tcho tasting bar with proprietary flavor wheel visible on the package
Ben Calderwood

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.

Tcho tasting kits are available direct from the manufacturer and individual 60 gram bars can usually be found at Whole Foods.

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