July 7, 2011

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé – Carenero Superior

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Written by: Alex Rast

A very good effort from an emerging manufacturer, which shows how wide the net of quality chocolate has now spread. In truth, Hungary has an old, one might even say ancient, tradition of fine chocolate and here is a bar that does nothing to damage that and a lot to bolster it. Rózsavölgyi reveal all the characteristics of the Carenero bean with authority, and make a good case for being in the elite class of chocolate manufacturers. There’s still some room for improvement; every now and then the flavours here seem to lose resolution, but on the whole there is much more to admire than to criticise here.

Out of the wrapper, the bar is already appealing, although perhaps a bit dark, yet nicely tempered and moulded, especially with the beautiful mould pattern that transcends the usual brutish utilitiarianism of most bar chocolates. The real beauty here, however, is in the aroma which starts out with a lovely strawberry, then deepens into shades of mahogany and demerara sugar. Hints of even darker molasses suggest there will be quite a progression in the flavour although there are vague dusty elements as well that raise minor concerns.

Mostly, those concerns prove unwarranted upon tasting, but at the start things look very frightening, that dustiness prevailing in the early going. But then the flavours of woods, brown sugar, and especially strawberry suddenly arrive, just a bit of a delayed reaction. Then the bean’s forceful spiciness takes over, turning it into a flood of cinnamon and clove with a somewhat woody finish. Virtually everything one would expect of a first-class Carenero, although a little nervous in the entry.

No nervousness in the texture, though, merely effortless surrender with perfect creaminess and smoothness so complete as to leave no detectable grain, although the effect is a bit thick overall. Perhaps they could back off a little on the finish without affecting it too much, and this might be a good thing, for that dustiness feels a little like overprocessing. Nevertheless, the flavour demonstrates that it’s not been finished into oblivion, and on the whole the bar succeeds quite dramatically. Here is a chocolate that does an honour to a proud tradition of confectionery.

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.



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