Amedei - Chuao

Amedei – Chuao

A super-strong, extremely characteristic chocolate, archetypal of its cacao varietal. It brings out all the intensity and complex character of the Chuao bean in a way that can only be described as sublime – both overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. A bar sure to excite strong passions in those who try it.


Reviews

Stuart Robson: 8-Dec-2010

Posted: December 8, 2010 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 9 5%
Taste: 8.5 35%
Melt: 9 5%
Length: 8 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 84.75 100%
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It has been a long time since this bar was tasted for review and as anyone with a love of fine chocolate will know, every year is different where a product influenced by climate and small scale processing is involved. As such it seems a good time, what with so many producers releasing their own take on this famous locality, to have another look at Amedei’s Chuao.

The appearance is typical Amedei and all that should be expected from such a well-regarded producer.  There is some light swirling but with a good temper and deep red brown colour.

The aroma is instantly recognisable; deep molasses with a waft of edgy bitterness, black olive and a hint of liquorice. In previous years these flavours came accompanied by a touch of blueberry, plum of red currant, but now there seemed to be little if any suggestion of these qualities.

On the palette there is the expected hit of dark molasses and espresso, but where once we could anticipate stewed plum and red berries, an earthy damp tobacco note now pervades. The finish is disappointingly flat also, with only a hint of nondescript acidity and anise adding any interest. This is not the bar of old. The texture is in line with expectations however- a touch grainy and rustic but with Amedei this always feels like a charming stylistic choice rather than a flaw.

I first tasted this bar in 2005 and have enjoyed it each year since then. It has varied subtly, as most bars do, with different notes taking centre stage some years and being more in the background in others.  It is hard to say what has contributed most to this batch’s fall from grace: it could be bean quality or a change in roast, among a number of other things, but for whatever reason this is not the great bar it once was… for now at least.

Hans-Peter Rot: 2-Oct-2006

Posted: October 2, 2006 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 8 5%
Taste: 9.5 35%
Melt: 8.5 5%
Length: 9.5 15%
Opinion: 9.5 30%
Total/100: 93.25 100%
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Despite Chuao’s legendary reputation, it’s far from immune to the effects of Amedei’s new processing standard, which in this case, is the omission of lecithin. Intense swirling and bubbling mar the uneven surface, but luckily, the color more than compensates for these misgivings. Blazing with bright red, perhaps mahogany or a deep shade of cherry, Chuao’s color still looks as ravishing as ever. The aroma is magnificent and multifaceted, slowly unfolding its many layers of complexity, thereby allowing you to tease apart its manifold nuances. Overall, it’s strong, black, and piquant, as raisins and molasses dominate, with subtler notes of berries and vanilla adding depth and contrast.

Molasses storms in right away and sets the stage for an entirely blackened flavor of poignant fruit; forthright and domineering, it’s an unmistakable and assertive flavor that packs an acrid punch. Next are tart plums and blueberries and then a resurgence of molasses that envelops the tongue and sends the fruit right through the length, picking up blackberries and almonds in the meantime, while spicy raisins further advance an overall blackened flavor. While the omission of lecithin may have marred the surface, it drastically improved the texture by creating a considerably thick but smooth consistency. Indeed, Amedei’s texture has never been better and can now be associated with the same level of smoothness of other higher tier chocolatiers.

Chuao is a ferocious deluge of blackened fruits and molasses, poised to trample all timid palates that dare stand in its path. It’s strong and intense, a chocolate without reservations. Unarguably, it’s one of the most intense 70% chocolates on the market today, and with a flavor this complex, this commanding, this divine, the price tag that each 50g bar demands is without a doubt a justifiable price to pay for a glimpse into heaven.

Alex Rast: 6-Oct-2005

Posted: October 6, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9 10%
Look/snap: 9 5%
Taste: 9.5 35%
Melt: 8 5%
Length: 9.5 15%
Opinion: 9.5 30%
Total/100: 93.5 100%
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Upon unwrapping, the bar looks very well-made. If there is the barest trace of moulding marks on the back of the bar, and perhaps a very few bubbles, it’s extremely minor – a level typical of the very best, most conscientious finishing. The colour is gorgeous, a dark, alluring terra-cotta that has the sheen of a perfect temper.

Aroma is powerful and characteristic of a Chuao, with a predominant blackstrap molasses twang, accented with highlights of coffee and olives. It’s immediately apparent that this is going to be one strong chocolate.

The immediate flavour is strikingly delicate – a strawberries and cream taste typical of high-grade Criollos. But then the brute strength of the Chuao bean takes over, intense, blueberry and coffee that simply mounts in strength with each passing moment. At the end there is a characteristic bitter kick, not at all harsh or unpleasant but once more one of the signatures of Chuao. Needless to say the length is immense and durable – molasses and blueberries mingling in the mouth for many minutes after finishing the bar. Texture is excellent – very creamy and smooth, but not quite perfectly smooth, in what appears to be a stylistic choice rather than a process defect. Strong stuff – not for the timid. In many ways a challenging chocolate but indisputably a magnificent one.



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