Domori comes up with a new, “pure” milk chocolate suggesting a more serious approach to milk chocolate than in the past for them. To some extent obviously aimed to compete with Cluizel’s milk chocolates, and from a cocoa source that Cluizel made famous in the past. However, if past experience is any guide, there is a very big difference in sensory experience between a 45% milk chocolate as here and a 50% milk chocolate as the Cluizel (now long since replaced by the better-still Mangaro Lait): the one still feels like a “regular” milk chocolate, the other manifestly like a “dark milk” and thus it will be interesting to see what Domori’s interpretation of this will be. However regardless of result it’s nice to see another major elite chocolate maker taking milk chocolate seriously.
Alex Rast: 7-Mar-2011
A nice if not particularly unusual milk chocolate from Domori. Why Domori places so much emphasis on this bar being somewhat unusual for what is, at the end of the day, an entirely typical milk chocolate is mystifying. Indeed, far from being experimental or adventurous, this is probably Domori’s most accessible bar of all, one which will appeal to the huge market of fairly normal milk chocolate-likers. Not that this is a bad thing, by any means: to have another worthy milk chocolate is a vital step on the path to giving milk chocolate credibility within the fine chocolate world. And compared to most milk chocolates, this offers a nice, dimensioned exposition. But at the end of the day, it seems to be more about the milk than about the chocolate.
Domori’s chocolates always look very nice out of the wrapper, and this one has a near-perfect finish, with only a few signs of mould irregularities near the edges. While the colour is worrisomely light, even for a milk chocolate, this could be the result of the combination of the milk with an already-light bean, resulting in something of a washed-out appearance. But the aroma isn’t washed out at all; it’s classic Domori, strong and sour with strawberry initially, then some hint of citrus, along with an equally assertive creaminess. Only a trace of rubber indicates potential for concern, but on the whole it looks like a setup for a very agreeable chocolate/milk balance.
However, the flavour, it turns out, has a total bias towards the milk. Right from the start it’s hyper-dairy, initially milky, then buttery. A brief hint of nuts appears to be the chocolate perking up a bit, but then waves of creamy overwhelm it, with only traces of strawberriness hinting at what chocolate might be there. It’s not even convincing that this is chocolate, much less 45%, and although the taste isn’t bad, it’s not what one can call strong. The conclusion is inescapable: in Domori’s eyes, milk chocolate should be milk first, chocolate second.
As is typical, Domori’s texture is exemplary, ultra-smooth and creamy, but this really adds very little to something of a predictable result. It’s a fine milk chocolate, to be sure, but it really does seem to confirm the idea that to the Italian mind, at least, there is a belief that a milk chocolate should very definitely NOT taste very much of chocolate. Rather, it should be essentially milk in chocolate bar form. Which begs the question: why not simply make a white chocolate? Indeed, the ingredient label confirms this, and that in a way the 45% designation is misleading: obviously most of this percentage is cocoa butter, so that what you have is a white chocolate with a hint of cocoa in it. That’s unfortunate. It would be nice to see other companies treating milk chocolate for its chocolate flavour seriously, as Cluizel do. We can welcome the expansion of the fine milk chocolate that Domori’s Javagrey represents, but we can still wish that it were treated as a legitimate space for exploring chocolate flavours.