November 2, 2011

Red Star Chocolate – Nicaragua Chuno

More articles by »
Written by: Alex Rast

A first-rate chocolate from Red Star and a close rival to its Indio Rojo for the best bar in the line. This really exposes the care and attention to detail of the source, Xoco, as much as the manufacturer, Red Star. Inevitably this bar will invite comparisons to Friis-Holm’s similar product from the identical source. Overall, it would seem that where Friis-Holm does a better job with the Nicaliso, Red Star is better with the Chuno, in a good example of how different beans match different styles. With its expressive dark treacley boldness, this Chuno is about as serious as one can get, and a very masculine chocolate indeed. One to get to be bowled over.

Red Star as always makes a good if intimidating show of the visual finish, with superb tempering married to a rather dark, smooth bar to produce something sinister but compelling. However, it’s the aroma that really dominates, entirely without precedent with its initial baffling combination of cherry and mushroom. All ordinary rational sense would say this cannot work, yet somehow it does, and seems a natural introduction to further aromas of chocolatey woods, tobacco, and smoke. A very dark experience is clearly in store.

Sure enough, the flavour immediately hints at darkness, with a sweet fruity wave of grape and dried currant, powerful enough already to envelop the senses. Next it moves to chocolatey and then to very dark molasses, with the same woody and smoky notes the aroma promises. Raisin and cocoa in the finish are not unexpected but what does surprise is how long they linger, for minutes, even hours. This is power on a level seen only in a few chocolates ever.

Duffy does a good job with the texture, although it’s not even in the same category as Friis-Holm. It is nonetheless very creamy and reasonably smooth, not really a distraction – as if that were possible given this chocolate’s strength of flavour. Perhaps, indeed, that strength is paradoxically its only weakness: at times it gets perilously close to heavy-handed, as though one were drinking a cup of pure molasses at a go. But for anyone who likes their chocolate strong and uncompromising, this bar will satisfy completely.

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.


Drinks and Specials Hamper, Duffy’s

Seventy%’s 2013 Chocolate Christmas List

Short of Christmas gift ideas? Choose from our chocolate gift list or buy a last minute tasting course gift certificate.
by Seventy%


Chocolate Tasting Certificate

Sign up for our new Chocolate Tasting Certificate courses - your route to expert taster in 3 levels.
by Seventy%


An evening with Maricel Presilla

A Chocolate Week special tasting with Maricel Presilla, author of 'The New Taste of Chocolate' and Award-winning Cuban-American chef.
by Seventy%



The Chocolate Tree – Madagascar Raw 70%

The Chocolate Tree ventures boldly into territory formerly almost the exclusive domain of Pacari with a raw chocolate that one has reason to believe may be classified as “fine”. It’s even more refreshing to se...
by Alex Rast

Seventy% supports the International Chocolate Awards
Askinosie Del Tambo Ecuador 70pc & nibs enrobed Cru Sauvage Bolivia Felchlin

Directly Traded collection from Geert Vercruysse

Belgian chocolatier Geert Vercruysse creates a unique collection of ganaches using directly traded chocolate, just in time for the birth of new industry organisation, Direct Cacao.
by Martin Christy



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest reviews

  1. The Chocolate Tree – Madagascar Raw 70% Alex Rast, 15 Jun 2013
  2. The Chocolate Tree – Ecuador 82% Alex Rast, 14 Dec 2012
  3. Friis-Holm – Chuno Double Turned Alex Rast, 3 Dec 2012
  4. Friis-Holm – Chuno Triple Turned Alex Rast, 18 Nov 2012
  5. Chapon – Chuao Alex Rast, 18 Nov 2012

@Seventypercent Twitter feed

Search site