August 28, 2011

Chapon – Chuao – Martin Christy review

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Written by: Martin Christy

When first out of the packet, the aroma is very cheesy, something like a blue bree. After airing a little there is dark tobacco, polished mahogany and a hint of lit matches, which is perhaps an indicator of things to come.

On the tongue, Pralus’ thick texture is the first thing you notice, followed quickly by burnt toffee, some cherry/plum and notes of Dominican Republic rum (more salt than sweet). Along the way their are true Chuao tones and pleasant subtleties, including a fizz of light passion fruit/mango in the top.

Something here though is clearly burnt, as was Pralus’ own Chuao of the same period. There is a continual and lingering taste like the bitterness of burnt toast, and fatty fried cacao at the end. A great shame as this really spoils the potential. I believe this is the same batch (or similar) as Pralus’ first Chuao, as tried at the 2009 Salon. Even they didn’t like it then. The more recent batch, in a square 50g box, is much, much better.

That said, the after-taste is not all bad, and actually gets better as the burnt-bitterness clears, with some fruit, but still sour.

For the appearance, the bar is well moulded and shiny, with a burgundy brown colour. There is a good snap, though the chocolate is a little more flexible than we might hope.

Not the best of Chuaos by a long stretch, but edible despite the burnt note – a bit like eating burnt toast covered with lots of butter and apricot jam. Pralus’ high cocoa butter recipe probably helps with this.

About the Author

Martin Christy
Martin Christy is Seventy%’s editor and founder and is a leading voice in the chocolate industry, promoting the cause of fine chocolate and fine cacao and those who produce them. With twenty years’ experience of fine chocolate, he has travelled extensively visiting cocoa plantations and meeting the world’s top producers and is a consultant to the fine chocolate and cacao growing industries worldwide. Martin is Judging Director of the International Chocolate Awards, which he founded in the UK with Kate Johns of Chocolate Week. He is also Acting Chairman of the new fine cacao and chocolate industry association, Direct Cacao and is a member of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative Tasting Panel. He is also a freelance writer about fine chocolate, contributing to UK magazines and several books about fine chocolate.



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