Amedei have a few new products on the way, which come along at the same time as a packaging overhaul of their entire range. The redesign will see the whole of the bar range brought into line as 50g bars, the format currently used for the current Chuao, Porcelana and ’9′ bars.
The really good news though, is it looks like Amedei have finally listened to fans of their origin chocolate and are bringing out their Cru range in the 50g bar format. The six country origins have previously only been available as 5g tasting squares in selection boxes of 12 or 36, or single varieties mini-boxes of four. These were never widely available though, leaving Amedei’s country origin range little known – at least in the UK.
More on the ‘Cru’ origin bars when we get to try them, in the meantime though, we received some of Amedei’s new products along with our Chocolate Week samples. These included ‘Quadrotti Toscani’ – filled mini-bars with a range of praline based flavours, and ‘Crema Toscana alla Nocciola’ – hazelnut and chocolate cream spread in a jar.
In the fine chocolate world, Amedei are best know for their solid chocolate, winning awards and plaudits for their bean to bar production. Just as important to the company though is their praline range, which was actually the original inspiration for the formation of the company, back in the late 1980s.
Up to now though, filled Amedei products have been limited to traditional pralines, available in collection boxes, but now Amedei have launched a new range of praline filled bars, in a handy four-square 45g size.
The milk coated gianduja bar features ‘Crema Toscana’ (more on this later) and a slight crunch from ground roast hazelnuts. Very smooth, light, delicately flavoured. Rather sweet of course, but enough flavour and substance to create a really fulfilling combination.
Milk chocolate coated croccantino is very sweet, but there’s nothing wrong with sweetness done well, when taken in moderation. The sweet bite with added crunch lingers on the tongue well. This isn’t exactly the heights of Amedei’s ’9′ 75%, but length is always the best indicator of quality, and this hangs on really well.
Normally I might be dismissive of white chocolate with a pistachio filling, but the reputation of Amedei’s ‘I Frutti’ solid white chocolate with roasted pistachio bar precedes this new bar. When fresh, this solid bar has a fantastic roast pistachio flavour – not surprising, as I understand that Amedei roast their own nuts. The new filled praline version gives off a similar aroma, along with of course a strong aroma of the milk. In some ways, this seems less sweet than the milk offerings, and a slight crunch adds a little textural variation. I’m again surprised that a white chocolate based product turns out to be the best of the range.
The dark chocolate bar in the range features a 66% Amedei coating with a praline and almond filling. The ingredients are all natural, as in the rest of the range, though this particular bar features ‘natural flavours’ at the end of the ingredients list – absent in all the others, a little mysterious and something I’d question in a product from any other maker. I’m suspicious of anything in a recipe that is not a known food. ‘Flavours’ may be innocent enough, but transparency is better, especially as Amedei make a point of telling us that the bars contain no soy lecithin or colourings. Perhaps Amedei can clarify?
The hazelnuts used are ‘Tonda gentile delle Langhe’ Piemonte variety, which create a gentle textural background for the well roasted almond. The flavour balance is very good, though personally I would have preferred a bit more of a kick – perhaps a little salt? The length here is a little sour, so in this topsy-turvy praline-filled bar world, the white chocolate offering in the Quadrotti Toscani range comes out best, while the dark praline is the least successful.
Crema Toscana alla Nocciola
A new departure for Amedei, a cream spread, again made with ‘Tonda gentile delle Langhe’ Piemonte variety hazelnuts, in this case making up 47% of the recipe. There’s no doubting the gorgeousness of this spread – a good simple recipe, made with quality ingredients.
Personally I could have lived with a higher chocolate content, though I challenge anyone who tries ‘Crema Toscana’ to deny that they didn’t eat at least some of it directly from the jar with a spoon.
All in all, interesting and accessible departures from Amedei that should bring their name to a wider audience.