January 10, 2008

Valrhona – Chuao 2002 – review – Hans-Peter Rot

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Written by: Hans-Peter Rot

Without seeing the light of day for five years, the bar is very pretty, delivering much more visual awe than what we see from Valrhona today. (Not even a trace of bloom is present.) It’s encouraging to see, then, a dark and very red color, yet the 65% cocoa content does lighten the shade a bit, but all in all things here look good for Chuao. Surprisingly, too, the aroma is strong and vibrant, typical of a bar molded recently but apparently unharmed by Father Time. It’s light and crisp, lemony and herbal at first, then raspberries, blueberries, and finally a subtle blackness underscores everything else for a final reminder that this chocolate could still be Chuao despite the herbal and lemony dominance.

The flavor, though intense and good on its own, does not resonate with what one would typically associate with Chuao. Lemony and herbal, alluding to lemon balm, this flavor is crisp and soft, eventually leading to more familiar berries and blueberries, but these eventually disappear as lemon recommissions the length. The intensity meanwhile is definitely present and satisfies where flavor falls short.

Texture has the typical smoothness that characterizes Valrhona, yet in comparison to recent bars from the company this chocolate has a noticeably superior quality. Indeed, everything about the bar exudes sophistication, yet the Chuao moniker does distort the bar’s reception since the flavors presented here are only vague shadows of what we’ve experienced from Chuao in the past. As a result, you’ll end up asking yourself, is this Chuao, or is this Chuao mixed with something else? We may never find out, so for now we might as well enjoy the chocolate for what it is and not how it is marketed.

About the Author

Hans-Peter Rot


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