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Bonnat Porcelana
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Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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January 15, 2008 - 5:55 pm
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quote:


Originally posted by Polarbear

...Bonnat's dark roasting style, which has a tendency to make tender beans taste very much the same, regardless off origin. This is an issue with all makers; Domori is cheasy, Amedei tastes raisins and Valrhona is acidic. In general, however, I think Valrhona is best at preserving differences between beans.


My feel is that there isn't any one manufacturer who has a clear lead in preserving varietal differences, but rather different manufacturers with different style points are more or less successful with different varietal groups. I think also that inherently a manufacturer tends to select beans that will lean towards their style, because it's reasonable to assume that their style is what they think of as excellence in chocolate and thus beans with this source potential is what they'll prefer without even thinking about it. If pressed to pick a chocolatier whose varietals each seem the most uniquely different from their other varietals I suspect that would be Cluizel, but they're not necessarily "characteristic" of the varietal - even if some (Vila Gracinda in particular) clearly are. But different chocolatiers have different strengths. At the limit there is a tendency for extremely aggressive roasting to erase differences in varitals - so Pralus for example is more stylistic than varietally tuned, but even that works in some cases.

Porcelana is a difficult chocolate to review as you note because its inherent flavour *is* so neutral. The Bonnat bar isn't the only one that would make an ideal base chocolate for a blend and it's that very neutrality and even flavour that makes it such a top-quality bean. The expectation oftentimes is that great varietals should explode with bold and characteristic flavours a la Chuao but that isn't the only route to greatness.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
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Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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January 15, 2008 - 6:03 pm
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quote:


Originally posted by Polarbear

I took a look at the reviews. While I do not care much about texture, taste is supreme here, I think that the over-roasting is probably not necessarily a result of bad beans, but of Bonnat's dark roasting style, which has a tendency to make tender beans taste very much the same, regardless off origin. This is an issue with all makers; Domori is cheasy, Amedei tastes raisins and Valrhona is acidic. In general, however, I think Valrhona is best at preserving differences between beans.

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...


Bonnat has a tendency to roast on the darker side, that much is agreed, but in the case of Porcelana the beans are excessively bitter, and the bar tastes much darker than anything else Bonnat has produced. It just seems like an unnatural entry under their banner, even forced a bit just to make the most out of sub par beans.

Perhaps Porcelana's limited flavor contributes to this, and if so why roast so long even if stylistic preference dictates such actions? Any over-roasting will seem like overkill (even in Amedei's version you can sense that), but as I mentioned before the bitterness and the muffled flavor are turnoffs, and furthermore anomalies that a Porcelana should not possess. This, to me, suggests that the maker is hiding something, i.e. poor bean quality, since this is something you can clearly taste in the high bitterness level.

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Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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January 16, 2008 - 9:19 am
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quote:


Bonnat has a tendency to roast on the darker side, that much is agreed, but in the case of Porcelana the beans are excessively bitter, and the bar tastes much darker than anything else Bonnat has produced. It just seems like an unnatural entry under their banner, even forced a bit just to make the most out of sub par beans.

Perhaps Porcelana's limited flavor contributes to this, and if so why roast so long even if stylistic preference dictates such actions?


IMHO, this bar is less dark than other Bonnat bars, and the Bonnat "coffee-spicyness" is less pronounced, but still clearly present. But I agree that it is somewhat foolish to let your stylish preferences dictate chocolate taste, especially of high-quality beans. After all, what's then the point of using varieties if you force them to taste nearly the same?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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Polarbear
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January 16, 2008 - 9:21 am
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quote:


Porcelana is a difficult chocolate to review as you note because its inherent flavour *is* so neutral. The Bonnat bar isn't the only one that would make an ideal base chocolate for a blend and it's that very neutrality and even flavour that makes it such a top-quality bean. The expectation oftentimes is that great varietals should explode with bold and characteristic flavours a la Chuao but that isn't the only route to greatness.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com


I guess we have different opinions here. IMHO, mostly "neutral" = "boring, lacks personality" = "not worth the high price".

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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Emmanuel
France
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January 30, 2008 - 3:15 am
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Hi, I just read your message,

As far as I know from ciao.fr, Bonnat processed only one batch of Porcelana, since it seems it was made from 700kg beans of the 1000kg worldwide (???) crop of Porcelana in the region of lago Maraicaïbo. Read the full story by Parenthese - one of the most chocoholic on Ciao -you can find the full story at http://www.ciao.fr/Bonnat_Porc.....is_1065704
(sorry, in French)
Anyway, she met Stéphane Bonnat and his wife themselves at the French Chocolate Show on 19oct 2007, then I think the info is reliable. BUT by now, I'd say nothing's left up from this small miracle...

quote:


Originally posted by marioh

I have just found this Porcelana bar made by Bonnat. Does anyone know anything about it? Does Bonnat make it regularly now? Can it be bought somewhere else? Anything? The problem is, that you can’t always trust what Manufactum is telling you…

http://www.manufactum.de/group.....773.0.html
(Sorry, page is only in german)


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