A Valrhona classic, Manjari is light, fruity, has a gorgeous melt and is not at all bitter. Ideal for any curious milk chocolate fans not so keen on dark chocolate, or anyone trying out fine chocolate for the first time. Currently only available in 200g bars.
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Reviews

Hans-Peter Rot: 13-Oct-2005

Posted: October 13, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 8 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 7.5 15%
Opinion: 8 30%
Total/100: 80 100%
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Annoyingly, format is perhaps Manjari’s weakest characteristic as Valrhona offers it in awkward and inconvenient presentations, but given the options, I opted for napolitans. As a result, the tiny format is practically impervious to the imperfections of bar molding, and so it shines defiantly flawless in its tidy little stack. For a Madagascar, the color is unsurprisingly light with a sandy pumpkin-like hue that clearly speaks of its origins. Aroma is also light on the nose, initially fruity with a decisive woody component underneath. It’s not too complex or acidic, definitely nowhere as pungent as Ampamakia; in other words, this has a better balance.

Flavor follows the same line as the aroma and immediately takes on a red fruitiness that’s very soft and gentle on the palate. Some cedar notes peak in about halfway along with a jolt of acidity, and then crisp raspberries tingle in the back of the mouth as the length closes. This is a special and sparkling sensation, a very light crispness that glistens on the tongue similar to champagne – perhaps the highlight of this chocolate as it is certainly a cozy feeling. Texture is exactly what you would expect from a Madagascan chocolate, and from Valrhona in general: smooth and creamy.

A good chocolate but not overly fantastic, Manjari is perhaps the victim of excessive embellishment and praise. While it may leave the taste buds initially amazed by its lightness and crisp raspberry notes, the lack of depth and complexity, along with its rather quick melt, may fail to deliver any lasting impressions on the mind. With that said, the purpose of this chocolate is to deliver an upfront satisfaction; a live-for-the-moment kind of sensation, which is perhaps drug-like in its effect, as the flavor notes and ultra smooth melt deliver an upfront happiness without excessive complexity. And when the chocolate quickly dissolves and retreats from the palate, you’re suddenly in a state of emptiness. There’s no memory to savor. There’s no lingering reminder whatsoever. It’s easy to eat, and when it’s gone, you crave something else. More chocolate. But sitting in front of you is another piece that can bring those sensations back. Eat.

Alex Rast: 6-Oct-2005

Posted: October 6, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 8 35%
Melt: 8.5 5%
Length: 8 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 82 100%
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Archetypal for Valrhona, a decidedly fruity chocolate of Madagascan origin. It could be a little stronger, and it could perhaps have a more complex array of flavour notes, but nonetheless not a bad chocolate. Perhaps this is, ironically, better suited for baking than eating – a chocolate with specific characteristics that work well in patisserie, over and above simple tasting.

You have your choice of frustrating formats with Manjari – 1kg blocs, 200g bars, or small 5 g squares. None is really ideal for eating straight, but the 200g bar isn’t badly unwieldy. It looks like the classic Valrhona – somewhat light, orangish-brown in colour, very nicely finished with a smooth mirror surface and minimal bubbling or waviness. The aroma is strongly fruity, a sour, redcurrant note, mixing with woody components of cedar. The cedar in particular marks out its Madagascan origins.

Similarly, the flavour is a mirror of the aroma. There’s a very sour currant spike at the beginning, before the flavour moves to the woody cast, with a decided bitterness. The intensity is perhaps a little less than one might like, perhaps because of the 64% cocoa content, although other chocolates at this percentage fare better. In part Madagascar chocolates have a tendency to be mild, and so the better exemplars tend to be higher percentage. Manjari doesn’t really have the sophistication of elite-class Madagascars like Cluizel’s Mangaro or Valrhona’s own Ampamakia but it might be more satisfying than either of them, at the end of the day.

Like Valrhona usually delivers, the texture is excellent, very smooth and creamy. Compared to Guanaja in the same line it doesn’t quite match that bar’s silky presentation, however, it’s still very good. There’s a definite sense, however, that this bar’s qualities might be better presented in a cake or torte – it seems to be just consistent enough in flavour for good baking while with enough individuality that it won’t come out generic. Baking would soften the bitterness while showing off the currant flavours. Given the available format, it seems Valrhona leans towards that opinion, as well – a good, “”utility”" chocolate with personality and character.

Martin Christy: 18-Mar-2003

Posted: March 18, 2003 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 9 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 7.5 15%
Opinion: 8 30%
Total/100: 84.5 100%
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Looks very red, matt. Overwhelmingly fresh, fruity aroma of strawberry with hints of lime and mango. On tasting, initial hints of bitter tobacco quickly dissolve into an array of citrus fruits balanced against strawberry and toffee tones. Manjari has the smoothest, most seductive melt of any chocolate, slowly slipping into a slightly creaminess at the end.

Fruit flavours fade quickly and cleanly in the length, leaving a slow steady cool background on the tongue.

The danger with this chocolate is it is too easy too eat – be warned!



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