December 3, 2012

Friis-Holm – Chuno Double Turned

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Written by: Alex Rast

In spite of the description on the package, here with the Double Turned we get a chocolate perhaps closer to “chocolatey” in flavour profile than the Triple Turned. Nevertheless it may be the “less-accessible” of these chocolates. Chuno is a mighty but challenging variety, with enormous potential, but also the tendency to divide opinion. This Double Turned has the feel of a chocolate that will inspire controversy as to its merits – more so, perhaps, than the Triple Turned. It’s a bar that’s strangely difficult to categorise, somehow embodying both all that is typical in fine chocolates and all that can be unusual in specific fine origins. Thus it’s a “judge-for-yourself” bar, a unique experience that must be tried to understand.

In typical Friis-Holm/Bonnat fashion, the bar out of the wrapper looks awe-inspiring, if forbidding in both size, and to some extent, colour. That is, it’s on the dark side, but with an exceptional finish virtually free from imperfections and with ideal temper. The aroma is exceptionally enticing, with raspberries leading the way accompanied by woody hints, then the fruitiness shifting to raisin and grape. Treacley and earthy hints are typical of Chuno and also add power, the boldness of the overall aroma issuing the challenge to taste.

How does the flavour respond to the challenge? Surprisingly meekly. It begins with citrus, possibly a modulation of the raspberry in the aroma, and then the flavour becomes clearly chocolatey, quite neutral before shifting to a drier cocoa with hints of tobacco. Hints of red fruits (redcurrant, raspberry), woody, and treacle justify the aroma. But unusually, all this is very mild, as if a flavour “volume” knob had been turned down to a low setting on a series of exceptional flavours. A glorious evolution, but with rather little resolution.

The texture of the bar – near-perfect with an unbelievably smooth and creamy melt – almost gives away what’s going on: very high cocoa butter percentage. Friis-Holm has proven before that it’s possible to extract good flavour definition in a high cocoa butter bar, but here perhaps the combination of the ferment process and the cocoa butter gets away from him just a bit. It should be noted that the Triple Turned doesn’t seem to be affected in this way. So, inevitably, how do the two compare? Astonishingly, it’s if the bars swap roles between aroma and flavour. The aroma of the Triple Turned is reminiscent of the flavour of the Double Turned, and vice versa. One would certainly not expect this sort of result from a variation in processing. It feels, though, as though the Double Turned may be, in terms of potential, the more interesting, but the Triple Turned will probably yield more consistent results. So it’s going to be a question of batch variation versus formulation. How these develop in time will be a fascinating thing to see.

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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