Bonnat explore all dimensions of “Porcelana” with another variant, this one from Peru. They seem to be milking the Porcelana designation for all they can get; whether this can be called such is yet again a big question. However, in taking liberties with their designations Bonnat is on familiar ground, and where it matters is in the chocolate, not in the label. Will this chocolate add anything to the chocolate world? Bonnat is getting more and more experimental; it’s nice to see them branching out beyond their “standard” origins and shows that they are serious about staying at the forefront of fine chocolate.
Georg Bernardini: 18-Feb-2012
|Source:||Sample direct from maker|
100 grams chocolate bar with thick pieces. I prefear a thin chocolate than this size.
Dark brown colour, shiny and almost perfect moulded.
The aroma is citrus fruits, fermantation and light peaty. This is nice, but nothing outstanding.
Fruity taste with notes of high roasted beans, lightly bitter. With 75% of cocoa solids strong, but due to the high content of cocoa butter not too strong. Bonnat add cocoa butter to all his chocolates. It makes the chocolate much smoother, with a better melt and snap.
Very nice melt, not sticky or greasy. The lenght is ok.
This bar is not the best of the Peruvian line. I worked myself with the Apotequil-beans. Very small and irregular beans whitch needs a very carful treatment. They need also a long conching time to be able to control the acidity.
Martin Christy: 17-Jan-2012
|Batch num:||Lot A|
|Source:||Sample direct from maker|
Bonnat cautiously labels this bar “VariÃ©tÃ© Porcelana” – note the speech marks. Porcelana is a Venezuelan criollo varietal, and though there is white-beaned cacao in Peru, similar in this respect to the Venezuelan variety, there is no evidence of the ‘criollo’ genetic cacao type in Peru. Porcelana is a criollo, and this is neither.
So let’s exclude the idea of Â ’porcelana’ from our minds and review the bar for what it is, chocolate made with the native cacao of Peru.
As usual, Bonnat bars are still 100 grams, a good chunky size that few other high chocolate makers still use.
The colour of the chocolate is brown with vivid burgundy hints, shiny and perfectly made in Bonnat’s traditional mould.
Tobacco and unlit match-head are strong in the aroma, but with definite floral hints – faint rose, mango and something like over-ripe fruit or perhaps papaya.
The taste has full fruitiness leaning towards apricot and lychee, with underlying brown sugar and malt, passing through a creamy burst. The fruit though leans towards overripe, with too much ‘yellow’ fruits and a slight underlying mustiness, suggesting fermentation issues. To cope with this, Bonnat has set the roast fairly high, which contributes to a bitter background note, noticeable especially in the length.
The mouth in the early stages is pleasant, balanced by the fruit, but tips off a little towards the end, when Bonnat’s typical high-cocoa butter content really becomes noticeable. Though the flavour while eating went on some interesting dancing fruit and floral explorations, the after taste is much less exciting. Fading of into faint lactic milk.
In my eyes Bonnat’s other Peruvian, Piura, is far cleaner and superior, and this seems to be the general opinion from Bonnat as well. An interesting bar to eat, but – in the case of this batch at least – does not reach the heady heights others have found.
Stuart Robson: 23-Feb-2011
The colour starts things off well here, being quite deep brown but with subtle red highlights. The finish is as close to perfection as one could hope for; a high gloss shine and a loud, clean snap. There are no defects worthy of any note.
On the nose there is the initial impression of sawn wood, roasted almonds and cashews with raisin and slightly herbal tones beneath. A pure roasted cacao note builds over time and while the aromas are not particularly expressive, this is certainly enticing.
The initial flavours are delicate and refined; there is a winey tone along with some blanched almond and cream. It doesnâ€™t take long for the intensity to build however and soon there are deep toasted nuts, a hint of fig and a rich unrelenting wave of creamy roasted notes. This is almost the pure expression of chocolate as a flavour experience with some lovely floral, citrusy subtitles showing throughout the length. The finish sees the almonds return and is soft and slightly earthy, remaining highly elegant and sophisticated with only minimal tannins. If one criticism could be drawn here it is that perhaps the finish drops away a little quickly but this is a small quibble.
A world on the melt which is as close to flawless as could be imagined; incredibly smooth, even, neither to fast nor to slow and in no way cloying or fudgy.
In many ways this is flawless chocolate from Bonnat; near perfect in its creation with well balanced flavours and a sense of great refinement. That being said, there is something of a monotone edge to the profile that leaves this reviewer just a little cold, almost as if textural perfection and the clarity of the overall profile may have left the individual flavours integrated almost too perfectly. This is a minor point however and in reality Apotequil feels like the very quintessence of fine chocolate and should certainly be applauded.
Alex Rast: 28-Jan-2011
Bonnat demonstrates signs of making enormous strides in quality, which, for a company that has already been among the elite, indicates that they now must be considered a contender for the best manufacturer in the world. This bar is a stunning leap forward, a truly great bar in every way. Or is it the source? With what we must assume to be similar sources, Zotter has also produced great things, so there is obviously something very special about this Peruvian “Porcelana” Still, Bonnat has improved in almost every way over other previous greats in their line, and appears to have made a step-leap in process mastery. A world-class bar from a world-class manufacturer.
Bucking the trend for smaller sizes, Bonnat persists with the large 100 g format, resulting in a bar that would be fairly intimidating even if its unblemished appearance didn’t already. The colour is a bit dark, perhaps, but nothing worrisome, it’s still in the health brown category. The aroma, by contrast, is completely unintimidating, mild but pleasant. Sweet raisin and grape emerge first, then there are hints of cream, before hazelnut and woody aromas take over. In many ways this is rather similar to Amedei’s Porcelana, which would not surprise given that Bonnat and Amedei are quite similar stylistically.
The flavour also reveals that grapeyness, but only for a moment: suddenly, intense, powerful chocolatiness floods down in wave after wave. The sensation is almost overwhelming, but after a bit of acclimatisation other, interesting flavours also emerge: citrus and almond, along with earthy hints. This is almost the idealised version of a pure chocolate, an archetype that is at once familiar and revelatory, like returning home to a loved companion after a long absence.
Bonnat keeps the comfort going with the melt, as well, which like everything else here is an amazing improvement over his previous bars; this one has the perfection and ideal smoothness of Michel Cluizel. On all fronts, then, Bonnat has conclusively surpassed his previous-best – the somewhat mysterious Chuao. Again, he plays some games with nomenclature, but when the chocolate is this good, who cares? Not only does this put Bonnat again front and centre in the chocolate world, it makes him one of the manufacturers to look out for in the future.