Building off the success of Mangaro Lait, Cluizel offers another single plantation milk chocolate, but this time he sources from Papua New Guinea and the Maralumi plantation. Although a lighter milk chocolate, the flavor is what sets Maralumi Lait apart and ultimately keeps the standard set high for the competition.
Alex Rast: 11-Jan-2007
In a rare miss for Cluizel, he produces a bar that is virtually Just Another Milk Chocolate – mild and without any defining characteristics. Cluizel seems to have had the magic touch in the past with milk chocolate but here his interpretation leans towards the decidedly generic. Perhaps this is a conscious decision to retain a milk chocolate in the stable which will please those who want something unchallenging, but if this is the case he might as well have kept the old 33%. Even masters make mistakes.
Out of the box, the bar looks ever-so-slightly ruffled for a Cluizel: that is to say, not immaculate in finish. It’s a bit dull, and has a lighter shade of brown than the percentage would normally imply. Nothing fatal here, but it turns out to be a bit of an omen. Still, it’s in the aroma that the bar takes a sudden turn for the worse. Immediately the nose is flooded with coffee and – horrors! – rubber. Did Cluizel inadvertently get a poor ferment? Most of the rest of the aroma is buttery, with a very minor suggestion of tobacco, but that rubber keeps on coming back. What’s going on?
If the flavour doesn’t develop any more off notes, neither does it deliver any spectacular coups either. It’s pretty unassuming and mild, starting out with a basic mocha tone before delivering a brief suggestion of cherry. All too soon this flavour dissipates in a coconutty finish, and the overall impression is: not much there. Nothing offensive, but more or less another chocolate that is easy to eat but offers nothing wonderful.
Even the texture is off for Cluizel, decidedly average, it must be said. It has neither the perfect smoothness nor the impossibly fluid creaminess of Cluizel’s other chocolates, being pretty middle-of-the-pack, rather similar to Callebaut. And indeed, overall this is a chocolate that might just as easily be replaced by a Callebaut and nobody might notice. Well, we’ll give Cluizel a mulligan this time but let this be a bit of a message: Deliver on the new Sao Tome!
Hans-Peter Rot: 3-Oct-2006
Building off the success of Mangaro Lait, Cluizel offers another single plantation milk chocolate, but this time he sources from Papua New Guinea and the Maralumi plantation. At 47% cocoa content, the color is radically affected by the milk solids and looks exactly what you might expect given the inherently light nature of the cacao as well. Light brown, that is, with a strong tint of orange, Maralumi Lait is also matte in gloss, lacking the same brilliant sheen seen on Cluizel’s other bars.
The aroma asserts itself strongly with a milky conviction, as subtle traces of the cacao’s inherent notes shine through meagerly. Slightly acidic and very much “”pink”" in nature, bananas then add a touch of depth, but the overall fragrance is too much smothered in milk, which therefore leaves me questioning the forthcoming flavor.
Don’t let the aroma fool you. Given its milkiness, Maralumi Lait offers a much stronger and more complex transfer of flavor, even if the chocolate is still fairly light and milky in some areas. Its natural acidity is strong and rounds out the profile, while blueberries, bananas, then dates sequentially add curious flavor to an overall pink canvas. Towards the end, the chocolate intensifies and tastes amazingly salty (perhaps umami in effect since it is rather savory), thereby emphasizing the slightly thick texture and somewhat full-bodied feel in the mouth.
Maralumi produces an interesting milk chocolate that might not strike the taste buds as particularly strong or intense, especially in direct contrast to Mangaro Lait. But fortunately, flavor is what sets Maralumi Lait apart; it engulfs you in a blanket of delicacy with a complexity that rivals most bittersweets. Like its dark 64% counterpart, the chocolate remains vibrant and bright (just subdued by the milk) with a decisively pink edge that might appeal to sweeter preferences due to the nature of the flavor, not because of sugar since the sweetness is fairly low. As a whole, most might find Maralumi Lait too subtle in character and perhaps too soft for a milk chocolate. But all this doesn’t change the fact that the bar delivers what many milk bars cannot: flavor.