Amazingly, Valrhona has managed to get character and interest in a milk chocolate even at a shockingly low percentage. This one will shake your ideas about what such milk chocolates are like. Not at all the sweet, candylike substance one normally expects at 33%, this reveals interest and components very characteristic of Madagascar. Worth trying in order to shake up preconceptions, and if you like mild milk chocolate, this is your bar of choice.
Alex Rast: 11-May-2007
Valrhona delivers this one in a strange, for them, 20g format and very unusual mould, with a deeply sculpted front side. It’s not their best-looking effort, lacking the usual sheen of Valrhona and with a very light colour, even if its lightness is completely expected. Aroma, too, is pretty typical, a strong nutty and hazelnut overall component with cream accents. Traces of coconut peek out every now and then and perhaps a suggestion of caramel.
However, the aroma does not prepare you at all for the flavour, which in a complete surprise starts out very strongly with a lovely strawberry fruitiness before developing into definite citrus. As it progresses the sugar does take some effect, but good nutty body keeps that strongly in check while the citrus continues to shine. It’s not clear how Valrhona has achieved this miracle but this milk chocolate actually has deep and lasting flavour.
Texture is what one expects out of Valrhona, namely super-smooth and excellently creamy. Inevitably with the high sugar content it can’t be as effortlessly smooth as their very top but it’s very pleasant none the same. As an overall experience, indeed, this is a chocolate that comes as a very pleasant surprise, one that challenges the notion that a low-percentage milk chocolate is going to be sugary and bland. There is simply no other milk chocolate like it in its class, and even if it doesn’t compete against, say, Cluizel’s Mangaro, it doesn’t have to: this is the chocolate of choice in the low-percentage category.