October 8, 2005

Bernard Castelain – Chocolate Noir – Tradition 71% – review – Hans-Peter Rot

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Written by: Hans-Peter Rot

The front of the bar looks classy and shiny, sectioned in large pieces, each of which containing a cacao pod relief. The backside, however, shows lots of action as well, in the form of bubbling and swirling. A near black color doesn’t help the matter, but red tints are always nice to see. Smelling the chocolate reveals a slightly sweet, yet full-bodied aroma of strong cinnamon and coffee accents. Plain, basic, and good in effect, but a lack of complexity and the near black color are certainly alarming.

Tobacco enters the scene, developing into woody cinnamon, and then raspberries and vanilla come in for a softening effect. Yet the flavor never was assertive or forceful, just calm, soft, and not nearly as potent as the visuals suggested. Continuing thusly with vanilla and wood, the chocolate draws to a close—about just as forceful as this calm bar will ever get—delivering coffee and nuts.

Texture reinforces the subtly in flavor with a smoothness that actually appears slippery and thin in the mouth. Strange perhaps, but it certainly is silky and smooth. Subtle in impact yet agreeable in flavor, the profile is a highly pleasant one that emphasizes flavors usually delivered at louder volumes. One can deduce the blend is largely composed of Forasteros, but Castelain has tamed the usually more assertive cacao into a calm and gentle chocolate. It’s a conservative approach, very much suggestive by the name written across the box: “”Tradition.”" It’s a chocolate for the masses, reliable and calm, the traditionalist’s bar.

About the Author

Hans-Peter Rot


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