January 17, 2012

Bonnat – Apotequil – Martin Christy review

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Written by: Martin Christy

Bonnat cautiously labels this bar “Variété Porcelana” – note the speech marks. Porcelana is a Venezuelan criollo varietal, and though there is white-beaned cacao in Peru, similar in this respect to the Venezuelan variety, there is no evidence of the ‘criollo’ genetic cacao type in Peru. Porcelana is a criollo, and this is neither.

So let’s exclude the idea of  ’porcelana’ from our minds and review the bar for what it is, chocolate made with the native cacao of Peru.

As usual, Bonnat bars are still 100 grams, a good chunky size that few other high chocolate makers still use.

The colour of the chocolate is brown with vivid burgundy hints, shiny and perfectly made in Bonnat’s traditional mould.

Tobacco and unlit match-head are strong in the aroma, but with definite floral hints – faint rose, mango and something like over-ripe fruit or perhaps papaya.

The taste has full fruitiness leaning towards apricot and lychee, with underlying brown sugar and malt, passing through a creamy burst. The fruit though leans towards overripe, with too much ‘yellow’ fruits and a slight underlying mustiness, suggesting fermentation issues. To cope with this, Bonnat has set the roast fairly high, which contributes to a bitter background note, noticeable especially in the length.

The mouth in the early stages is pleasant, balanced by the fruit, but tips off a little towards the end, when Bonnat’s typical high-cocoa butter content really becomes noticeable. Though the flavour while eating went on some interesting dancing fruit and floral explorations, the after taste is much less exciting. Fading of into faint lactic milk.

In my eyes Bonnat’s other Peruvian, Piura, is far cleaner and superior, and this seems to be the general opinion from Bonnat as well. An interesting bar to eat, but – in the case of this batch at least – does not reach the heady heights others have found.

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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