Heavy, darkly flavoured chocolate with unusual twists. An interesting fourth chocolate in Valrhona’s Grand Cru range that keeps up the high quality standard already set.


Reviews

Hans-Peter Rot: 5-May-2007

Posted: May 5, 2007 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 9 35%
Melt: 8.5 5%
Length: 8 15%
Opinion: 9 30%
Total/100: 88 100%
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Finally, Valrhona has delivered Araguani in a more accessible format, and it’s quite easy to submit to the bar’s attractiveness. The slick and radiant surface emits a purplish blush that’s ingrained within a near black background. A flip to the backside continues this trend but breaks the calm waters only slightly when traces of swirling are noticed.

Next, an elegant darkness permeates the nose, delivering plums, raisins, and blackberries, with a peculiar sourness bringing it all to life. It exudes darkness yet retains the characteristic lightness of Valrhona, suggesting that Araguani is a slight departure for the company but will nonetheless be tied together with a thread of familiarity.

Unsurprisingly, the flavor inherits the aroma’s character, offering a profile that Amedei wouldn’t mind delivering. Although a flash of blackberries kicks things off, raisins and coffee quickly crowd the fruit and then evolve into a strong chocolatiness that unsuspectingly remains on the tongue for the remainder of the length. The chocolate also has a subtle acidity and pungent but pleasant bitterness that highlights the flavor, thus contributing a distinct molasses-like quality, which in so doing makes the profile flow seamlessly and effortlessly, just like the texture. Indeed, Araguani strides with Valrhona’s usual grace, finalizing a total package that really is difficult to find fault with.

A slight departure for the company yields a chocolate that offers contrast and depth to a line usually associated with lightness and fruitiness. But even with Caraibe, we can see darker inclinations, so Araguani seems to have found its niche. Valrhona has done a marvelous job here, putting forth a chocolate that rivals Guanaja, partly because it resembles its intensity and partly because it’s arguably the darkest offering to date.

Alex Rast: 6-Oct-2005

Posted: October 6, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 7 5%
Taste: 8.5 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 8.5 15%
Opinion: 9 30%
Total/100: 86.5 100%
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A welcome addition to the Grand Cru line, if for the moment only available in an irritating format. A total departure from the rest of the Grands Crus stylistically, emphasizing subtlety and refinement over complexity and power. This chocolate is one of the leaders in a new style that seems to be emerging, with an emphasis on delicate, feminine flavours – chocolates to seduce rather than excite.

So far, Valrhona has only delivered this chocolate in small, oval discs packaged in bulk boxes, as if to imply application for baking more than eating. It’s a curious choice and one that makes for an awkward experience if you want to eat it straight. And with the clumsy format, the chocolate inevitably suffers in appearance – with lots of “”dust”" and surface blemishes from shifting in the package. Colour is a rather dark brown, with a flat finish that may be as much the result of shipping as the temper at the factory.

Moving beyond the lack of visual and form-factor appeal, however, right away the aroma announces something new and wonderful. It’s a soft smell of peaches and tropical fruits, sweet but not in a cloying way, and with a suggestion of rose as well. It’s a very Southern USA kind of smell – so much so one could easily imagine this being Scarlett O’Hara’s chocolate of choice.

The flavour might not quite be as seductive as the aroma, but it’s certainly not bad. Perhaps it’s a little flat, mostly a chocolatey, coffee flavour mixed with a little melon. However, in its defence it has no bitterness and the flavour is actually pretty good – chocolatey flavour predominating is always a winner – it just might not quite live up to the beauty of the aroma. Texture is appropriately feminine and allays any concerns about finishing – it’s the classic smooth and creamy texture Valrhona is known for. In fact, overall, it’s baffling why they would package this as (mostly) a baking chocolate – with its subtlety and mild, unaggressive flavours this is a consummate chocolate for eating, not baking.

Martin Christy: 3-Jul-2003

Posted: July 3, 2003 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8 10%
Look/snap: 7.5 5%
Taste: 8 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 7.5 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 81 100%
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Appearance is brown grey with a find grain, but with some bubbling, and a sharp snap. The aroma is tobacco and hay, with hints of wine and treacle. Melt is initially a little waxy (there is a high cocoa butter content here) but soon – and in sharp contrast to the aroma – a flood of high fruit notes fill the mouth (lime notes). These tantalise for a flash before heavy molasses and treacle settle in, gradually turning to straight chocolate with tobacco and finishing in a burst of sweetness. Length has steady iron and tobacco that goes a little bitter, but otherwise holds well.

An interesting new chocolate from Valrhona, available so far only in boxes of ‘beans’ (bean shaped pieces of chocolate) for the chef, and as part of Valrhona’s new ‘Grand Cru collection box’ of squares of fine chocolate. We look forward to a ‘bar’ format soon!



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