Sunday 30 August 2015

Rózsavölgyi Carenero 73%

The best about Budapest (and Hungary) is Rózsavölgyi. My sin, my soul. 

The aroma wow oh wow. Wheaty, salty, soda bread, rosemary. The taste didn't wow-oh-wow quite like the aroma, but it still was ever so nice. It was wheaty, very chocolate-smooth, rosemary and red peppercorns (that distinct spice to it). In my first tasting I had icing sugar (which is a defect to me), in later tastings I got sweet orange zest (not sharp) and once slightly burning car tyre, this smokiness was mesmerising
Carenero, a Venezuela strain of cacao, named after the port from where it once shipped from, is known as a "tropical fruit basket" with spice and earth grounding it. However, Rózsavölgyi are fond of the 'green' and more subtle earthy notes in chocolate, so they work hard with their cocoa beans to achieve this; their effort shows

I love Rózsavölgyi, that is all

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Zotter Labooko Belize Toledo 82%

The cacao within Zotter's Belize Toledo (minus the added cocoa butter) is grown by Mayan cacao farmers, who live in the middle of the jungle away from the restless Belize City. I chose this bar as I've had Zotter's Belize Special before. Both having cocoa beans from the Toledo Cacao Growers - could they be much different? 
The aroma was literally a perfume; there was juicy raisin, leather, prune, bergamot 

The taste was dark, bitter and roasted for a long while, and annoyingly 'watered' down. It takes some time, but finally comes some fruitiness - and quite a bit of fruitiness. Once there was a herb, though I never worked out which, and bergamot and it was fairly floral
The answer is yes, they could be much different. I had preference for the Belize Special over this 82%. It has taken me a while to consider but I notice Zotter Labooko has a distinct note to it that suggests bubblegum and flowers. And oh, I feel Belize cacao has more flavour than Zotter lets on...

Monday 17 August 2015

Michel Cluizel Vila Gracinda 67%

Sāo Tomé is an island amidst the Gulf of Guinea, and is a shield volcano rising from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean

This single estate chocolate, like always with Cluizel, has added cocoa butter, Bourbon vanilla pod and no emulsifier

The aroma had a dark depth to it. Vanilla, tobacco, ash, leather, pure dark chocolate, a hitting spice - it came when unexpected and abruptly - and fur ... musty? musky? 
The flavour was firstly roasted, with smoke and woody tones to it. A dark chocolate taste came through, which then opened up lots of sweetness, turning now into dark chocolate syrup. I also got Coco Pops® with a fair bit of milk. All this chocolatiness was very interestingly followed by raspberry! The distinct red, buzzy fruit came only nearing the end of each tasting 

Cluizel's Vila Gracinda tastes as if it were the richest, most wonderful chocolate cake in the world (like Ottolenghi's recipe). I have had great experience with Cluizel before, the Los Ancones bar was heaven, even Friis-Holm agreed. I found online that someone thought this Vila Gracinda may rival the Los Ancones, although it doesn't win, I am somewhat convinced 

Thursday 13 August 2015

Pacari Salt & Nibs, and Raw

Here are two different salt and nib chocolate bars from Pacari. Both made from "pure Arriba Ecuadorian cacao", but one raw with coconut sugar and the other roasted with cane sugar

I first tried them with a friend over coffee, both agreeing that they paired excellent with coffee!? We could distinguish that they tasted different, having preference for the RAW 70%, but for the purpose of my reviews, I tried them again to pick up on their nuances 

Raw 70% with Salt & Nibs
The aroma was green, floral, citrusy, with an overlaying vanilla and coconut. In tasting, the nibs were more distinct here than in the other bar, they had that metallic kinda flavour - due to the rawness. The salt worked very well, however when tasting again later it often became too saline. The chocolate beyond the salt had a strong taste of coffee and toastiness (which seemed ironic because it was raw)

Cuzco Pink Salt & Nibs
This salt was from Cuzco in Peru and the chocolate was a 65%. The aroma was leather, vanilla and coconut. The flavour was very smoky, then with a coconut taste (which resembles, to me, cheap dark chocolate) but then that fades out, with the smokiness dominating again. This bar wasn't too salty and it was sweeter tasting than its precursor, however I much preferred the RAW 70%

I like how Pacari state the % cocoa mass and % butter, and I overall like Pacari very much! The crunchy texture was enjoyable and I would recommend these bars. Interestingly, these chocolates tasted best with coffee

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Droga Money on Honey

Droga confectioners/chocolatiers seem pretty cool. I say that because they use great ingredients, have real nice, slick packaging and reside in California

Money on Honey are soft and chewy caramels, made with locally-harvested Bennett's Honey Farm wildflower honey (into a caramel with sugar and Californian cream and butter), enrobed in Californian-made dark chocolate (Guittard) and sprinkled with French fleur de sel sea salt. The ingredients are 100% natural - and kosher ... so Jewish friendly

Sunday 9 August 2015

Zotter Labooko Loma Los Pinos 62%

Made from Yacao cacao from the Dominican Republic, conched for 16 hours with quite a bit of sugar, because that's "just the way Latin Americans like it"
The aroma was archetypal 'fruity' chocolate, it too was green (with a dryness) and leather

The taste was fruity, red jammy, toasty, sugar syrup, blackberry. It was pretty sweet and classically Dominican - fruity! Later with my second bar I found it to be that little more complex. Thoughts of Unicum (Hungarian liqueur), but then more specifically I picked up on liquorice root

The texture was smooth, kinda gummy, and the snap wasn't sharp. Overall, this chocolate had a nice flavour and relaxed experience. It wasn't as stimulating as other dark chocolate, I could easily substitute a milk chocolate yearning for this

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Chocolat Bonnat Haiti 75

I bought Bonnat's Madagascar last time I was in France. After being disappointed with it, seeing as I was in France again, I thought to have another go with Bonnat, as it could have just been an unfortunate bar; Bonnat have had excellent acclaim

Haiti is to the left of the Dominican Republic, sharing one single island. I love Dominican Republic cacao - so being a Hispaniola chocolate, and having a 2€ higher price tag than some other Bonnat bars, I had high expectations for this deep pink wrapped chocolate bar

The aroma was ... um ... eventually green, tea leaves ... caramel

The taste was ... um ... buttery, eventually cocoa bitterness, deep roast slowly became toasty. Later there were hints of acidity. The texture was incredibly buttery, almost greasy, and with the lack of flavour I imagined just eating cocoa butter

French chocolate is butter rich, but overdo it and the flavour is lost. Bonnat overdo it, in my humble opinion, whereas French maker Cluizel manages to just get away with ample cocoa butter, as does Pralus, both of whom's chocolate burst with flavour, unlike Bonnat ...

My third attempt, which was the next morning, showed improvement. There was more acidity, though still very subtle. The roasted profile suggests over-roasted beans

The good about Bonnat is the old-fashioned packaging and how it feels wrapped, that the ingredients list is simple: cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar