October 13, 2009
An important note on this year's Amedei Chuao, which may also explain recent mixed opinions. I now suspect a batch of it got contaminated. Today I tried a bar as part of a 3-way comparison. There was an unmistakeable aroma and flavour of petrol. Very strong too. You could taste the usual Chuao flavour beneath this, but it had been rather overwhelmed by the petrol taste. The batch number is 0000012TUH, expiry 30/03/2012. I bought it from William Curley in London.
It's clear that this is a batch issue because not more than a week ago I tried another bar, in another parallel tasting. This one by contrast was the Chuao we all know and love, and perhaps among Amedei's best yet. It was easily able to make the other 3 bars: Domori Chuao and Puertomar, and Amedei Porcelana (all most-recent vintage) look poor by comparison, and as usual was the best chocolate I've seen in the past year by a wide margin. I regret now not having kept the wrapper for that one; this might have helped in narrowing the problem. I bought it in Rome from Castroni.
So it seems some bars this year have contamination - I recommend Amedei try and track down the offending batch numbers and recall them.
Meanwhile as you can see from the above I can also happily report that based at least on the "good" bar I see no reason to believe there has been any decline in quality this year in general. But watch your batch numbers!