We’ve been caught up with preparations for Chocolate Week recently, so I’m a little behind telling you what chocolate has passed my way recently, but not behind with eating it! The last two Club editions have feature bars made by British chocolatiers, and I’ve been finishing up some tasting samples recently.
Valrhona Alpaco, by William Curley
It’s great to able to have bars made specially for you, and we were lucky enough recently to have William Curley make up a bar of Valrhona’s new Cru Alpaco – made with beans from Ecuador. This was a special for a recent Club edition and gave us a chance to try this new chocolate, which so far is only available as couverture. Although not a ‘star’ in the Valrhona firmament, I rather like this chocolate and it has generally received good feedback. It’s one of the mildest Ecuador chocolates I’ve tried – the high tannins usually present in Ecuador beans are controlled if not completely absent, and there is a faint floral tone, lime and banana with a toffee background. Alpaco does has a slightly fatty texture, but is a good chocolate for eating. Green tea at the end.
Possibly Valrhona feel they have to work more on this chocolate before turning it into a retail bar, but it does seem a shame to keep it hidden away, especially as lesser chocolates like Abinao 85% are already on sale in bar form.
Paul A Young Autumn spices (dark)
Another bar just featured in the Club, but this time we can’t claim exclusivity, as this is part of Paul’s autumn range. Spiced with cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, nutmeg and cardamom, this is a really yummy combination. The chocolate here is Valrhona’s Tropilia 70%, which is normally a little dull (not being a Cru), but here the combination works really well. Better in fact than the milk version, which Paul favours. I found that the spices just seemed too strong against the milk (which I suspect was Guanaja Lait), anyway, you only needed one piece for a strong spicey hit, whereas the dark version is very palatable. You can buy ‘Autumn spices’ from Paul’s shops, and we may have some for sale online soon.