A chocolate that can’t quite qualify as a single origin, given that its exact parvenance remains murky, but one that once again delivers splendid results in a very well thought-out series from Neuhaus. It’s too bad that they don’t say whether any of the beans are of Ivory Coast origin, or more to the point that none of them are, which would be reassuring. Nonetheless, this is a great chocolate with affinities to a first-rate Arriba and on the whole a pleasure from start to finish.


Reviews

Hans-Peter Rot: 9-Jan-2007

Posted: January 9, 2007 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 9 35%
Melt: 7.5 5%
Length: 9 15%
Opinion: 9 30%
Total/100: 88.5 100%
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Prying the bar from its gatefold box yields a great looking surface and a near black color that for this genetic makeup is not so surprising as it is common. It’s purplish in tint, too, barely so but very much in sync with the purplish aroma. Concord grapes and black currants are strong, just like the rest of the scent, which is heavy and bold, accented with spice and vanilla and overall very powerful and satisfying.

Like the aroma, the flavor is purple in attire, projecting grapes and currants over a background of deep chocolaty flavor that Forasteros are renowned for. A powerful coffee blast follows and evens out into cocoa and vanilla, turning nutty towards the end, making for a rapid succession of notes and overall a substantial, flavorful chocolate. Texture is dense and thick, not creamy per se, but similar to ganache with too high a chocolate ratio.

The market today has become so saturated with outstanding bars produced from Forastero beans that any definition assigned to the term “flavor cacao” seems just as old fashioned as floppy discs. Regardless of whether Neuhaus is rebranding or sourcing directly, this bar—and many, many more—is compelling evidence that we should at the very least broaden our perceptions. Obviously, this chocolate has plenty of flavor, not mention depth and lots of heft to its body, which are all good things in my book. It may be somewhat simple, I admit, but it’s definitely not lacking in quality (or flavor).

Alex Rast: 5-Dec-2005

Posted: December 5, 2005 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 8.5 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 9 35%
Melt: 7 5%
Length: 9 15%
Opinion: 9 30%
Total/100: 88.25 100%
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Out of the package the chocolate looks pretty much as expected – very dark and purplish. Finish is, however, very good and one isn’t expecting any miracles of appearance in any case. Aroma is very complex, if perhaps a bit short in body: initially grassy and tobacco, later grapes and nuts, with an unexpected hint of vanilla and caramel, odd given that the formula has no vanilla in it. Generally, however, no surprises here either, although the complexity makes it already quite appealing.

Flavour is both complex and an exploration of all that is good in Forasteros. Initially comes a superbly balanced fruitiness, blackberry and currant. The middle socks you with a good strong cocoa or possibly chocolatey, not quite dead-center but close. Mild coffee wafts convince that this chocolate has benefitted from a heavy roast. Finish is the archetypal coconut and earthy of West African Forastero beans, and yet while all the usual suspects are here, there’s no bitterness. Neuhaus has done a superb job of modulating bitter components against the primary flavour.

Unfortunately, the texture is a bit of a let-down, rather dry and pretty average in smoothness. Neuhaus doesn’t gain any points here but then again, it doesn’t have to. When you produce a West African chocolate with this much balance, you have nothing to hide. Most exceptional is how they have managed to retain the liveliness and interest most usually found in Ecuador beans in those from a less noble origin. Neuhaus appears to have made a real commitment to quality chocolate so that this isn’t just a “”me-too”" origin bar.



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