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Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture Review

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I can't believe it was all the way back in June that I watched the livestream launch of Cacao Barry's new innovation, WholeFruit Evocao chocolate.

The launch was predictably upbeat, with lots of descriptive words used to convey the taste, aroma and texture. It would be a while though before it was released into the public domain.

Then, out of the blue at the end of August, ingredients supplier, Keylink, sent me an email letting me know they had just added this innovative new product to their stock list. I clicked through to find that the only pack size of Evocao 72% WholeFruit Dark Chocolate Couverture weighs in at 2.5kg with a price tag of just shy of £43 (£1.72/100g).

I wanted to try some chocolate sweetened with upcycled cacao pulp, but buying 2.5kg seemed an extreme way to go about it. Thankfully, Derek at Delta Chocolate had me covered, selling me a small quantity of his supply. The next day, I held this new wonder food in my hand.

What does Evocao taste like? Should chocolatiers switch from other couverture to using WholeFruit couverture? Is there anything you should avoid doing with this new Cacao Barry couverture?


Packaging

Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture is available in 2.5kg resealable sacks of couverture 'Pistoles' (small buttons). The shelf life of the couverture is 12 months, so akin to a white or milk chocolate couverture.

Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture
Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao chocolate couverture

Derek at Delta Chocolate kindly decanted my buttons into plastic bags so I didn't have the packaging to hand. In its absence, I downloaded the technical sheet for the couverture and it certainly contains some interesting data.

Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture ingredients:
Cocoa mass, sugars obtained from cacao pulp (Theobroma cacao L.). Cocoa solids: 72% minimum.

That's it. Two ingredients. That's refreshing to see from mass-manufactured chocolate.

The recipe contains 72% minimum cocoa solids content, 40% minimum cocoa butter content, and 22% natural sugars. It's the mineral and vitamin composition that intrigues me. By utilising the whole cacao fruit, Evocao theoretically has the potential to contain more nutrients than traditional chocolate. While I'm not about to draw any scientific comparisons, the data sheet shows traces of Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Phosphorous, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, Chloride, Potassium, Manganese, Fluoride, Selenium, Chromium, and Molybdenum in Evocao.

The recipe is dairy-free but the couverture is produced in a facility that handles milk products, so that's something to bear in mind.

There's plenty of warnings that state never to heat the couverture above 40°C (104°F), so it's a temperature-sensitive beast. Cacao Barry recommends handling it as you would a delicate fresh fruit to preserve its texture and natural flavours.

Evocao is 100% sustainably sourced, sourcing its cocoa through Barry Callebaut's Cocoa Horizons Foundation platform. The Foundation seeks to improve the livelihoods of farmers through promoting sustainable farming practices, developing community projects, and reforestation.


Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture Review

Opening the bag, I was struck by the abundance of smokey, rich aroma, rounded with woody, leathery notes. There was a hint of tobacco and earthiness around the fringes too.

Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture closeup
A closer look at the couverture

It's not just the aroma that is lively. So too is the taste.

The couverture takes a few moments to reveal its flavour inside your mouth. It begins with a release of tart characteristics, with citrus and pineapple flavours coming through on a bed of buttery vibes. A bitterness starts to creep in, adding a rich cocoa contrast to the mix. Tart berry notes are next to make an appearance along with a hint of delicate coffee notes and a creamy mouth feel. Meanwhile, the tartness and bitterness continues unabated. There's a hint of nuttiness that develops right at the very end before leading into the aftertaste, where the bitterness fades to leave a creamy, fruity finish that lingers long afterwards.

Based on the press conference, I had expected characteristics akin to that of ruby chocolate, a product I'm not too keen on based on its flavour. This is surprisingly different. It's a complex flavour, and there's a lot going on, so it needs to be treated carefully so as not to overwhelm those tasting it. A little goes a long way.

Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture Review
Dark chocolate made with natural sugars from cacao pod pulp

So, what applications does Evocao suit?

Cacao Barry suggests Evocao is suitable for use in moulding, enrobing, ice cream, and chocolate slab applications, as well as pairing with these flavour combinations:

  • Pink Pepper
  • Cannabis
  • Cloves
  • Hops
  • Nutmeg
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon balm
  • Laurel
  • Mint
  • Yellow carrot
  • Corn
  • Coriander
  • Rhubarb
  • Papaya
  • Apple
  • Mango
  • Guava
  • Rose water
  • Basil
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Thyme
  • Beetroot
  • Sage
  • Gooseberry
  • Rosemary
  • Douglas pine brandy
  • Sea buckthorn
  • Juniper berry
  • Angelica root
  • Pine nuts
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pink Grapefruit
  • Green Pepper
  • Tomato
  • Ginger
  • Cassis
  • Sake
  • Muscat sweet wine
  • Riesling wine
  • IPA beer
  • Ice Wine
  • Gin
  • Ice cider
  • Douglas pine brandy
  • Sea buckthorn
  • Juniper berry
  • Angelica root
  • Pine nuts
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Chamomile
  • Bergamot (plus Earl Grey tea)
  • Verbena
  • Coffee
  • Shiso

I think it would work best in pastry work, where a dark, bitter chocolate would compliment a rich, sweet dough or beautifully enrobe a fruity sponge cake. I don't see a huge market for simple Evocao chocolate slabs, but can see a market for Evocao chocolate truffles, Evocao enrobed fruits, or Evocao chocolate bonbons - so long as the flavour pairing is right. There's hints of citrus, tropical fruits, creaminess, and tartness in this chocolate, so any flavour pairings needs to respect this, either riffing off those characteristics, or contrasting and complimenting them.

If I was experimenting today, I'd try to pair the likes of raspberry, pineapple, coffee, mint, and spices with it, perhaps using a caramel base to help detract from the bitterness. Enrobed stem ginger might be nice too.

There is one thing I wouldn't do with it, though. Learn from my mistake, do not use WholeFruit Evocao in hot chocolates. I used my hot chocolate shaker to emulsify semi-skimmed milk with WholeFruit Evocao and the result was a very bitter beverage that was very difficult to enjoy. The bitter aspects of the couverture intensify in a hot chocolate in a negative manner. In hindsight, I should have heeded Cacao Barry's advice not to exceed 40°C (of which it undoubtedly did as it fused together with hot milk).

For answers to a whole load of questions on WholeFruit, check out my Evocao FAQs guide.

Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao Chocolate Couverture Review

RRP: £42.81 | Cacao Barry | Shop now

WholeFruit Evocao is an interesting new chocolate couverture, with a lot of feel good factors. It helps to minimise food waste for a start, and it retains more of the natural properties of the cacao fruit. It uses minimal ingredients and it supports Callebaut's Cocoa Horizons sustainability programme. The aroma and flavour has a lot going on, with lots of life and character. I'm intrigued to see how pastry chefs and chocolatiers will use this in real world applications. It just doesn't like heat and certainly doesn't make for a good mug of hot chocolate.

Packaging
Appearance
Ingredients
Taste
Creativity
Score: 4.2

Where to Buy Online

This product is so new, I can only find supplies list on Keylink here. In time, I suspect its availability will improve, with a range of chocolate ingredient suppliers stocking the 2.5kg bags.

Will you be trying Evocao? Let me know whether WholeFruit is in your future sights in a comment below.

Disclosure: I purchased 200g of Cacao Barry WholeFruit Evocao chocolate couverture from Delta Chocolate for £7.40. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.

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