Surabaya is undeniably the gentle giant among Bonnat’s milk chocolate trinity, since it is easily the most agreeable to the palate. As such, it will definitely please milk chocolate fans sufficiently, especially since it’s by far the mildest and bears the most associated characteristics. However, the lack of sweetness will certainly appeal to those converted to the dark side, but the concomitant lack of strength may leave some palates a bit empty.
Alex Rast: 7-Feb-2006
The least of Bonnat’s single-source bars, one which will leave you scratching your head. It’s truly puzzling in flavour as well as being on the mild side, a total contradiction to its dark label. This one is at the level, at best, of a decent standard milk chocolate, nothing to write home about. It will appeal mostly to those for whom novelty and curiosity are everything, being a complete departure from anything classic or accepted. The alternative of alternative milk chocolates.
Like its stablemates, this bar isn’t the prettiest face one could meet, indifferently moulded, alarmingly light for what it supposed to be a dark milk chocolate, visibly bubbly. That in itself isn’t a big problem, but the aroma is bizarre to say the least. It’s pungent and mediciney, like bay leaf or menthol, with hints of olive thrown in, sort of a dry, but vegetal smell. Surely this is nothing like chocolate, and certainly nothing like milk chocolate, odd in a very negative way.
The flavour does little to clarify the feeling of bafflement, starting with the olive taste so readily identified in the aroma. Next comes a very artificial strawberry flavour, like some cheap sweet, which while undeniably natural still feels chemical. Some sense of order returns with a nutty flavour similar to pecans, before the bar finishes with tastes of sour milk. On the whole, it seems very likely that Bonnat’s milk source isn’t supplying fresh whole milk, and this is probably the overall cause of the problems: one is combining an unusual varietal with a milk which has past its prime.
Bonnat doesn’t pay attention to smoothness, not in any real sense, and so although this bar is lusciously creamy like milk chocolates tend to be, it is merely average in smoothness. The flavour is, however, anything but average, in an unfortunately negative sense, eccentric and slightly off-putting. Sour milk suspicions aside, indeed, perhaps it’s best that the chocolate does have some milk in it, the more to mask bean qualities that seem possibly suspect. If Bonnat is trying to create milk chocolate flavour fireworks, here he’s put out a dud.
Hans-Peter Rot: 15-Jan-2006
Right from the outset, the bar fails to impress. The sterile and ordinary bar bears no design or identifying features, lacks a good sheen, and has a color that at this high percentage should be darker than a languid shade of pine. There isnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t much hope in the aroma either, it being primarily a milky waft with hardly a trace of cocoa in the nose. A lack of sweetness is evident, however, serving as the only positive encountered so far.
Shifting to flavor, not much else impresses either, if by that is meant cocoa and some sort of intensity to make the bar appear to be chocolate. Cream is the emerging spectacle, bearing no support from the cacao, but then the intensity picks up and the flavor is akin to a milk chocolate ganache. Some of the cacaoĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s natural fruitiness developsĂ˘â‚¬â€ťstrawberries and sweet lemonĂ˘â‚¬â€ťand hangs out in distant terms, adding minute depth to an overall flavor that is far too mild for this percentage. At 65%, there needs to be some intensity, not a milk bath.
Texture serves as the chocolateĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s true highlight, mimicking the creamy penchant of the flavor and melting like cream, so to speak. It really does add a polished feel to the bar, even if the flavor itself is painfully nondescript and deficient in the qualities needed to make it great, or at least, commendable. As this bar stands, there are probably better uses for this cacao since ironically its flavor is surprisingly weak and ineffective to carrying out the chocolate’s main intent.