Pralus - Tobago Estate Chocolate W. I.

Tobago Estate Chocolate W. I.

Pralus’ second experiment with a single-plantation chocolate (the first being the Claudio Corallo bar, which might not be called a “pure” or at least not a “classic” chocolate bar), at least if one inteprets the Chuao as a regional origin, if in a very local “region”.

Interestingly, Pralus goes for a Trinitario bean in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to deliver a definitive reference for the overall type. However, will this be a compatible match? Pralus’ dark style has the strong tendency to overwhelm the rather mild, subtle flavours in Trinitario beans, so much depends here on the meeting between style and substance.

We may nonetheless hope that this is merely the first of a series of plantation offerings from Pralus.


Alex Rast: 21-Feb-2011

Posted: February 21, 2011 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9.5 10%
Look/snap: 8.5 5%
Taste: 8 35%
Melt: 8 5%
Length: 8 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 83.25 100%
Best before:
Batch num:
Source: Own purchase
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A valiant attempt to demonstrate a “definitive” Trinitario. It might fall slightly short of the ideal, but still expresses most of the signature Trinitario qualities – and here this might mean something! To be sure, the Pralus style tells, but on the whole this is a worthy chocolate with plenty of interest to it.

Rather like Pralus’ usual, the bar looks somehow slightly waxy out of the box, which is to say, in nice temper, with a dark colour probably indicative of the roast more than anything else, but an almost disconcerting sheen. Typical mould irregularities also appear but nothing to worry about, and with a familiar processor it’s clear we’re seeing the impact of style. By contrast, the aroma is all about the bean. It is amazing and powerful, layers of raisin and brown sugar alternating with layers of woods and blackberries. “Layers” here is the operative word: the aroma is so dense one feels as though one is diving through progressive banks of aroma cloud. Very captivating.

The flavour doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the aroma, and here Pralus’ style begins to show with telling force. Initially, the taste is a surprising creamy sensation, but almost immediately the usual coffee body arrives. Pralus, however, has modulated this sufficiently that it moves more towards simple pure chocolatey, then to a lighter, nutty hint with suggestions of tannic woods. Hints of grass and red wine suggest more, possibly much more, would be forthcoming with a lighter roast, but the overall effect still comes across as masterful, and it would be churlish to begrudge Pralus this style. Everything in the bean appears to be on display, just in soft mood lighting rather than bright arc lamps.

The melt is as expected for Pralus, smooth but not perhaps in the ultimate class, but creamy above most others. One gets the sense that this bar might come out very different and possibly even more exciting in the hands of, say, Domori or Amano, but what Pralus has achieved does no disservice to the bean. Not quite, perhaps, the ultimate trinitario chocolate, but another significant contribution to the market.

About the Author

Alex Rast
Alex Rast is a long-time chocolate experimenter, taster and part-time consultant to chocolate companies. Starting in 1990 with early experiments himself in making chocolate, he quickly moved into evaluating chocolates in commercial production and assisting other companies in improving process. Over the course of many years he has evaluated over 700 distinct chocolate bars. He is one of the earliest reviewers for SeventyPercent and has helped to define and systematise the ratings system. In addition to bar chocolate, he also experiments with chocolate baking and the formulation of "canonical" recipes for classic chocolate items.