It has been a long time since this bar was tasted for review and as anyone with a love of fine chocolate will know, every year is different where a product influenced by climate and small scale processing is involved. As such it seems a good time, what with so many producers releasing their own take on this famous locality, to have another look at Amedei’s Chuao.
The appearance is typical Amedei and all that should be expected from such a well-regarded producer. There is some light swirling but with a good temper and deep red brown colour.
The aroma is instantly recognisable; deep molasses with a waft of edgy bitterness, black olive and a hint of liquorice. In previous years these flavours came accompanied by a touch of blueberry, plum of red currant, but now there seemed to be little if any suggestion of these qualities.
On the palette there is the expected hit of dark molasses and espresso, but where once we could anticipate stewed plum and red berries, an earthy damp tobacco note now pervades. The finish is disappointingly flat also, with only a hint of nondescript acidity and anise adding any interest. This is not the bar of old. The texture is in line with expectations however- a touch grainy and rustic but with Amedei this always feels like a charming stylistic choice rather than a flaw.
I first tasted this bar in 2005 and have enjoyed it each year since then. It has varied subtly, as most bars do, with different notes taking centre stage some years and being more in the background in others. It is hard to say what has contributed most to this batch’s fall from grace: it could be bean quality or a change in roast, among a number of other things, but for whatever reason this is not the great bar it once was… for now at least.