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Amano Chocolate
January 24, 2007
1:07 am
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Well I just got back from the Fancy Food Show and while I was there I was able to meet up with Art Pollard of Amano Chocolate. He let me try his two bars that are coming out soon...

One is made with Ocumare beans from Venezuela and the other is a single origin Madagascar.

I must say....I didn't expect a chocolate this good from someone so new to the business...His first chocolates have not gone public yet and I already think his chocolate can compete with the best...These two chocolates are a must try! Be watching for them to be available on their site...My favorite was the Ocumare but both were fantastic.

http://www.amanochocolate.com

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Robert

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
January 24, 2007
1:11 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I HOPE I have some coming back from the show from friends. Can't wait.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
January 24, 2007
2:43 am
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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I really enjoyed the bars Martin...I think you will like them...The Madagascar has the normal tartness to it but is different from many of the others...the tartness is sharp and first thing that comes to mind is tart berries...most of the time I just classify Madasgacar chocolate as tart(if that makes sense).

The Ocumare is great as well...I am trying to get Art to send me a full sample of each so that I can review it for the site(I only got a piece of each as we were chatting)...but yeah let me know what you think of it when it comes...

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
March 5, 2007
5:42 pm
Scott--DFW
Dallas, USA
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Finally got to try the Amano bars.

The Madagascar had a typical fruitiness (very raisiny), offset by a slightly bitter edge. The Venezuela started out with a squarely chocolaty flavor with an unusual, but not unpleasant mint-like undertone (which may have just been a referred taste from the vanilla, which featured a little too prominently in the aroma). Continuing through the bar, a subtle red berry note rose to the surface. Slightly sweet for my taste (70%, including extra cocoa butter) and a little strong on the vanilla, but those are quibbles. Temper and texture on both bars were good. (The added cocoa butter wasn't as excessive, diluting, and distracting as it can be in, for instance, E. Guittard bars.)

The Madagascar is good, but not extraordinary. Comparing it with other American chocolates, it say it's in the ballpark of E. Guittard's Madagascar and a little behind Theo's. The Venezuela, on the other hand, is a very good chocolate--a serious contender for the best American-made chocolate I've had.

Scott

March 5, 2007
8:26 pm
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Thanks for the comments...I enjoyed both his bars greatly. I am looking forward to what he comes up with the next couple of years. I really did enjoy his Madagascar. I though it was the most unique Madagascar I've tried. I put it as my favorite Madagasar so far...

The Ocumare was also done very well. I had just tried Chocovic's Ocumare a few days before tyring his and I think his blew Chocovics out of the water...

I think Art Pollard(Owner) is going to be one of the best Artisans in the USA in the coming years...

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
March 5, 2007
8:29 pm
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Hey Scott,
I have seen you on here a few times but I was wondering what you background was in chocolate? tell me a little about yourself...

Have a good one,
Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
March 5, 2007
10:37 pm
Scott--DFW
Dallas, USA
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quote:


Originally posted by aguynamedrobert

...I was wondering what you background was in chocolate?


No background, other than as a consumer.

Scott

March 6, 2007
9:46 am
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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I actually didn't like Theo's Madagascar...You would put theo's higher than Amano's and Guittard's? I would actually put Amano's first and Guittard's second with Theo a far third(out of those three bars)...

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
March 6, 2007
2:47 pm
emi
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Speaking of Amano... Is there any chance we could get their bars here at SeventyPercenet's own shop? [:)]

March 6, 2007
4:45 pm
Scott--DFW
Dallas, USA
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quote:


Originally posted by aguynamedrobert

I actually didn't like Theo's Madagascar...You would put theo's higher than Amano's and Guittard's? I would actually put Amano's first and Guittard's second with Theo a far third(out of those three bars)...


Of the three, I think Theo has the most dimension--fruitiness, yes, but also a mild woody counterpoint and background of spice--and the best texture. I give it the edge over Guittard, because of the latter's "all cherries all the time" flavor, excessive sweetness, and waxy texture. And I like it better than the Amano, because of the latter's undercontrolled bitterness. With the three bars out on my desk, the one I keep reaching for is the Theo.

Like I said, though, Amano's Madagascar is a good chocolate. I certainly wouldn't say anyone is "wrong" for preferring it over the other two. Another thing to consider is that Amano has been offering its chocolate to the public for all of a month and a half. They're making small batches. There's a real possibility that the Amano Madagascar you've had is different from what I'm describing. (The bars I have are from Lot # 3/4/59, Made: 1/14/2007.) Time will tell how consistent Amano is from lot to lot.

Scott

March 6, 2007
7:01 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I would agree with Scott there, Amano's Madagascar is really quite one dimensional in its extreme fruitiness, so much so, the raisin notes are not strong enough to combat the fruits adequately. But by no means is it a bad chocolate. Rather, it's really good and also a very interesting bar; to put it into perspective, I'd eat this much more regularly than Cluizel or Valrhona Madagascars.

Theo's Madagascar was better, imo, because of its more rounded profile and greater representation of Madascar's flavors (full review on the way). It's better balanced too and conveys its flavors more pleasantly and more coherently than Amano. Both are bright chocolates, in a sense, but Theo's has a woody counter to prevent a seemingly one dimensional tone. Texture here was not as smooth as Scott describes. It was smooth, yes, but also it had some grain here and there.

The first time I tried Ambanja, the flavor and texture were magnificent, but there wasn't acidity to accentuate the fruitiness and therefore coutner the spiciness of the chocolate. The result is a chocolate that, in relative terms, is one dimensional. Lindt's, otoh, has a similar profile but expands further with orange and acidity.

March 7, 2007
12:43 am
aguynamedrobert
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One of the things I liked about Amano's Madagascar was that the tartness of the bar presented itself in a way that is different from other chocolate bars. It was very upfront and to describe it for my palate would be...tart berries. I have never given a Madagascar that description(others fruits yes but not berries) and I enjoyed the flavor that is presented.

I really did not enjoy Theo's Madagscar and found it dull and that the tartness of the bar and the chocolate flavor didn't flow together as well. I will have to get another bar and go through it again and do it side by side with these other Madagascars...

Have a good one guys,
Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
March 7, 2007
1:42 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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Interesting opinion. But considering your recent encounter with Pralus, I'm guessing you're turned off by the woodiness and overall darker nature that a longer roast can produce, not only within the Madagascar origin but in all chocolates in general. But maybe with Madagascar, the contrast of dark against light is so strong and prominent that these darker notes are just too overbearing to ignore and even appreciate in the whole spectrum of the profile. As a result, the chocolate might come off as boring because you find these notes distasteful and uninteresting.

Also, I find it interesting that you've never tasted berries in other Madagascans when so obvious a selection is widely available for you to try: Manjari, and in a good year, Ampamakia. Other bars, such as Lindt, Guittard, and of course Theo are available too, offering raspberries and blueberries. Cluizel's Mangaro even tastes of raspberries, although secondary to the caramel, but it's definitely present in bright red attire. In fact, that you haven't tasted berries in a Madagascan chocolate is quite odd indeed, especially since it's a common flavor of this origin, but perhaps this note is just perceived differently. For example, I know for a fact that when Alex describes a flavor as cherry I sometimes associate the same flavor with cranberry or some other redness, but the important thing to remember here, though, is that the same (even if in relative terms) perception was made.

March 7, 2007
2:53 am
aguynamedrobert
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I have associated certain notes like fruits/citrus/sour/tart/lemon/wine which all have very similar traits just slightly different, to Madagascar chocolate but I really felt like I was tasting tart berries with Amano's. I have had Manjari, Ampamakia, Ambanji, Pralus, Theo, Mangaro(Michel Cluizel), but my palate and mind has always found a better way to put what I am tasting into words than tart berry. I have no doubt that I am tasting the same notes you are but my brain reads them different. That is why I like talking with you guys as well to see how your palates describe each chocolate. It makes it so I have a broader term base to connect with people when introducing them to a certain chocolate...

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
March 13, 2007
6:12 am
Art Pollard
Provo, USA
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Personally, I like their chocolate -- A LOT.

;-)

-Art

Fine Chocolate Made From The Bean
http://www.amanochocolate.com

Fine Chocolate Made From The Bean http://www.amanochocolate.com
March 14, 2007
1:08 am
emi
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So would we... [;)]

March 30, 2007
11:13 pm
Scott--DFW
Dallas, USA
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For those in the US, it looks like Chocosphere is now stocking Amano. I love one-stop shopping.

Scott

April 9, 2007
11:56 pm
ChemicalMachine
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I just tried the Amano and Theo Madagascar for the first time.

The Amano smelled to me of cedar. The initial taste is cedar as well, which transitions into a vague combination of bitterness and spiciness. The acid flavours then arrive, intially as strawberry, and then blueberry, which diminished as a basic chocolate flavor appeared. As I moved the chocolate with my tongue, further waves of acid arrive with the same blueberry flavor, which persists into the finish.

The Theo smelled to me of acidic fruit with an acidic forestlike aromoa similar to some of the acidic flavors in Domori Chacao Absolute. The initial flavor is of table sugar (an unusual entrance?), followed by basic chocolate flavor. The acid arrives as fruit which is quickly dominated by an acidic grass flavor. The flavor grows more forest like as earthness becomes the dominate note, which is the note on which the flavor profile finishes.

The texture of the Amano was unflawed, while the Theo was slighlty grainy (I have found the texture of all Theo chocolate to be somewhat grainy).

I prefer the Amano. While the Theo is more complex and has a longer flavor profile, I do not care for the earthy and grassy flavors (I dislike earthy chocolate in general).

With the Amano, I find the cedar, spice, and strawberry flavors pleasant, although short lived. The flavor profile stagnates on the blueberry flavor, but I find this flavor so pleasant that I do not consider the lack of complexity as a fault.

The blueberry flavor in the Amano tastes simlar to the blueberry in Guittard's Madagascar, although in the Amano this blueberry flavor dominates while in the Guittards spice dominates. I wonder if a blend of Guittard's and Amano's Madagascar chocolates could produce a more balanced flavor profile?

April 14, 2007
12:34 am
Alex Rast
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quote:


Originally posted by ChemicalMachine

I just tried the Amano and Theo Madagascar for the first time.

The Amano smelled to me of cedar. The initial taste is cedar as well, which transitions into a vague combination of bitterness and spiciness. ...

The Theo smelled to me of acidic fruit with an acidic forestlike aromoa similar to some of the acidic flavors in Domori Chacao Absolute. The initial flavor is of table sugar (an unusual entrance?), followed by basic chocolate flavor. ...

...
I prefer the Amano. While the Theo is more complex and has a longer flavor profile, I do not care for the earthy and grassy flavors


I tried both Amano and Theo Madagascars. I am with you - overall I thought the Amano was the better of the 2. Neither bar was perfect: not in the same league e.g. as Amedei's.

The Amano had a lot of spiciness in it, particularly cinnamon, but I think there was a problem with overfermentation. It was very sour and vinegary. Madagascar, with its already citrus signature, doesn't need the extra sourness of an aggressive ferment. Still this was a relatively small defect in an otherwise fine bar.

The Theo was more problematic. I think the chief problem with it is overroasting. One got good cinnamon/grapefruit at the start: classic Madagascar flavours, but then it became a bit cardboardy and bitter, a sign of a roast pushed slightly too far. The bar lost delicacy and became aggressive. Now, Theo's style emphasizes strength, so perhaps that was their aim, but I'd have preferred to see a more feminine bar in the Madagascar where you expect that type of delivery. There will be a review up shortly, along with the Venezuela (which was superb) and the blend.

I also tried Amano's Ocumare. It has a long way to go before equalling the Domori. The bar was very one-dimensional in its fruitiness, almost all currant, all the time. Since Ocumare generally has some earthy components as well I think of the fruitiness as uncharacteristic.

Amano is clearly trying hard, but I think their style is a little too close to Valrhona for comfort. They need to be more distinctive and individual. Indeed, they seem to be "copying" manufacturers rather than establishing a style of their own. The texture and finish of the bars, for example, is almost identical to Cluizel, right down to the moulding pattern. Packaging is an unabashed rip-off of Amedei. I can't criticise them for making bad choices as to who to copy: with the possible exception of Valrhona on the whole they seem to be picking the best representative of each feature, but I do wish they'd have more originality. So the bars end up perfectly acceptable, but nothing new or special.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
July 30, 2007
1:47 pm
ChemicalMachine
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I noticed Amano's Limited Edition Cuyagua bar today while browsing Chocosphere. Has anyone tried it yet?

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