I'm only really into plain chocolate right now, but I bought a Bernard Castellain bar with little cocoa beans inside. I mainly bought it because it seemed that they were selling fast, so I figured that it would be good. It's not bad with a smooth, clean melt and a very straight forward chocolate taste. VERY weak for a 72% bar and has NO aftertaste. Seriously, you would think that you hadn't even eaten a chocolate at all only a second after it's gone in the mouth. It's more of a munching bar than one that you would let melt in the mouth, which I prefer the latter. The cocoa beans weren't what I was expecting. They seem no different than a nut. In fact I let all of the chocolate melt away in one piece and ate the beans themselves, and they tasted like nuts. I really have no will to eat anymore of it because it isn't satisfying at all. Ah well, you win some, you lose some. Has anybody else had any experience with Bernard Castellain?
August 1, 2006
As you have discovered, Castelain's 70% isn't as good as other brands, but I heard that his 85% is superior to Cluziel's. I plan on trying the 85% relatively soon, and when I do, I'll post my opinions and outcomes of a taste test. I've had the Macaibo 70%, and it's quite good. Not fruity and not too bitter; I don't know how to describe it, but the bar I ate had a cool feeling in my mouth; it was so creamy and had somewhat of a coffee-like flavor. It was a refreshing bar that really didn't excite me or send my taste buds all over the place. I bought another bar, along with a bar of 77%, both of which I need to sample soon. If you can get the Macaibo bar, then do it.
July 31, 2006
The Michel Cluizel Grue, with the cocoa nibs in is one of my favourite eating chocolates, and being their blend maybe has more flavour than the Castelanne. Try it if you can.
October 13, 2003
I have tried the Castellain 70% bar and found it to be bland and lacking in complexity. I tried the 85%, which was amamzingly mild and smooth, but boring. The south american bar was no good. Generally don't feel their chocolate is all that good--bland, poor texture, melt, and no lingering aftertastes.
I'd really like to try that Grue. I checked my store and they didn't have any, though their chocolate stock is running short. I asked one of the managers and she said that she is rather embarassed of their chocolate selection. They also didn't have Cluizel's Ilha Toma, which Mont reccomended to me. ALSO didn't have Valrhona's Ampamakia or Manjari, but I blame myself for the Ampamakia since for some reason I kept on putting it off. I may have to break down and make an internet purchase. It's getting colder, so shipping won't be as pricey.
In other news, since they didn't have what I was looking for, I didn't want the trip to be a waste so I did buy Scharffen Berger's 70% bar. I only tried a small peice, but it's alright. Very fruity and acidic with little signs of many developing flavors. I didn't give it a proper tasting so I won't go into detail, but it may be similar to Lindt's 70%, though Lindt seems stronger, which I prefer. A taste comparison will follow.
July 31, 2006
I would rate Scharffenberger above Lindt. I may not be Valrhona, but it is not dissimilar. Let us know how a fuller tasting goes.
Oh, I prefer SB to Lindt as well, I just prefer the stronger taste of Lindt more. I thouroughly enjoy higher acid bars over the dryer ones most of the time... I did a quick testing between SB and 70% Lindt as well as SB and Varlhona's 71% bar since I, too, found them to be similar.
Taste-wise, I found the SB closer to Lindt with possible Caramel flavors, but I didn't find many flavors past that. Like I said, Lindt is dryer than SB and Lindt has a much thicker melt. I would rather eat SB than Lindt, though I wish it was stronger along with its acidity. SB v. Valrhona. Of course Valrhona was better, but SB wasn't bad in comparison. Valrhona has more interesting flavor notes and a much creamier, satisfying melt. Plus it has a much stronger kick to it, which SB dissapointed me when trying it next to Lindt. Scent-wise... I'm not very good with that yet. SB seemed a little weak in comparison to both Lindt and especiallty Valrhona.
I rate as follows: Valrhona>Scharffen Berger>Lindt.
Interesting flavor notes being the first contributing factor, followed by acidity, ending with mouth-feel.
Can anybody give me a quick review of Valrhona's 71% bar? I've been eating that bar and I love it, but for some reason I can't put my finger on what some of the flavors are. It's fruity and high-acid. That's all I've ever been able to say, but I know there's more to it than that.
You know, I find it hard to get the taste of Scharffen Berger because I can't get a good tasting piece broken off of that massive block. They're either too small or too big. I'm finding it quite different from Lindt now, but I can't get a good taste of it. How do you guys normally eat your blocks of chocolate. This scares me to get Valrhona's Manjari block. If I can't taste it, it will go to waste!
August 1, 2006
I think the best thing to do is mentally picture how much chocolate you actually want to eat, then take a sharp knife and plan to cut twice as much as you intend to eat. That way, if your piece is too big, you can cut it half and still savor the chocolate. If it's too small, cut a smaller portion and combine the two in your mouth. Just make sure to angle the knife correctly or else it will slip and produce thin flakes, thus "wasting" your chocolate. By all means, do not pass up an opportunity to try Manjari. It's quite fruity, though, but without the acid found in Scharffen Berger.
October 25, 2003
October 26, 2003
hi..new to this forum..I consume plenty of Lindt 70%, because locally its whats most available (and a $1.50). I'd rate it somewhere in the middle. I haven't tried any CLuizel because i can't find it locally. I have tried El Rey's dark chocolates (i think all of them)..kinda dry, but good. I've tried a 60 and 70% Chocolove (i rate that stuff highly-very rich)..Vivani organic (right above the lindt)..and my favorite right now is Divine (very dark, very rich--very good)...My daily chocolate (i'm not a millionaire) right now is Ghiridelli Double Chocolate (baking chips)...not bad, although i'd say they are a little sweet. I've also tried Newmans Organic Dark (ape bar)...too sweet for me.
What are your favorite El Rey bars? I've only ever had Apamate and Gran Saman. I think Apamate is all right, but I love the Gran Saman. I just get huge urges to eat dry, gritty chocolate, and that bar satisfies me for that. I want more similar chocolate, though. Are the lower percentages very sweet? Chocolove's 70% is a very good bar. It is a bit too rich, malty, and caramely for me, so I don't eat it often. But if I want something truely "bitter-sweet" I go for that. Their 65% is too sweet for me and their 77% isn't good enough. I want to try their organic bars. They're supposed to be quite good.
October 26, 2003
Ok...first post got deleted...EL rey...i liked there chocolate that i tried Gran Samn and the Apamate (i'm pretty sure i might've tried some others but i don't recall--been awhile)I know i haven't tried the RIo Caribe line...i think i like the darker chocolates, especially chocolove 65 and 70% and the Divine 70% that i'm eating right now (mostly african cocoa beans)...chocolove organic (it was 2 bucks for a very small bar so i skipped it and bought a 3 oz 70%..next time...i heard it comes from some secret carribean spot??? I've also tried Droste 70%...bad aftertaste...astringent? (acidy tasting maybe?--been awhile) Its hard to try a lot of these bars because i have to drive quite a distance to find a place that carries them (mostly food co-ops and occasionaly grocery store) But when i find something that i've been wanting to try, its like i'm a little kid again! I really like the manufactures that tell where the beans are from... later...
August 1, 2006
Chocolove's 77% isn't that great. It has very few flavor notes and lacks anything to make it a memorable eat. It's not that strong and was actually quite disappointing. I haven't tried their 70%, but perhaps I will later. Their organic 73%, otoh, is really quite good, although I prefer Dagoba's organic chocolate much more. Most people like Chocolove for its creaminess and smoothness and not necessarily for the flavor. Chocolove's organic bars do have a Carribean source, and therefore have fruity flavor components. If you have a chance to try the organic 73%, then go for it. It's much better than the 77%.
November 11, 2004
I thought my favorite every day chocolate was Cote D'or until I tried Bernard Castelain 71% with little chips of cocoa beans. The flavor was extremely pleasurable, and the crunchy texture enhanced the experience. I also love El Rey Gran Saman---it tastes pure to me, without too much vanilla or sugar to hide the chocolate flavor. Another good chocolate is L.A Burdick. It has hints of flavors other than pure chocolate, but is not overwhelmed by them.
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