Ampamakia was one of the first single plantation chocolate and Madagascar-chocolate I ever tasted. I was directly in love with cocoa from Madagascar and still today I have a weakness for Madagascar-chocolate. The typical fruity notes are always present and gives to the chocolate a fresh note without being too acid… if the chocolatier control the bean and the production of the chocolate.
The beans used for this chocolate comes from the Millot plantation. I had the chance to visit this plantation several times. The beans, a mixture of Trinitario and Criollo beans, are carefully treated and in contrast to other producers further washed.
The look is brown and lightly red due to the typical lightly red beans from Madagascar. The chocolate is therefore and due to the low cocoa mass content not dark as a usually dark chocolate. Due to the very professional equipment of Valrhona the look is almost perfect and the snap great.
The chocolate smells clean, fruity and with notes of spices.
The taste is Madagascar-like. Lime, mango, peach and spices, especially vanilla. But the vanilla-taste is not usually for Madagascar-cocoa. It comes from the added vanilla. The added vanilla is unnecessary, the cocoa has enough character and the added vanilla falsified a little bit the pure character of the cocoa. The roasting is not too strong to taste.
Due to the high cocoa butter content is the lenght not perfect.
The Ampamakia still satisfies the expectation to a Madagascar-chocolate, but Valrhona could make it better. The cocoa solid is in combination with the high cocoa butter content a little bit too low for a chocolate made with Madagascar beans. This makes the chocolate too sweet. They should reduce the cocoa butter, increase the cocoa mass and the cocoa solids up to 66-67%. The added vanilla disturbs the enjoyment of this still great chocolate a little bit. Valrhona should not add any vanilla to this chocolate.
In total is the Ampamakia still the incarnation of Madagascar cocoa for me and one of my favourite chocolates, but others chocolatiers treat the Madagascar-cocoa as well but with better recipes. Ampamakia is not any more the best Madagascar-chocolate in the world, but still one of the best.