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HELP! Ampamakia and Ilha Toma lover
June 14, 2004
3:26 pm
missiejoy
Karlsruhe, Germany
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Hi there!

I´ve been following your discussions for a little time now and it´s so exiting to see there are other crazy people who spend that much on chocolate and are still able to sit back and really ENJOY!

Well, I´ve only gotten into dark chocolate a year ago, not being able to anything under 60% anymore now. Since my local supplier only has Valrhona and Cluizel, those are the only good ones I´ve tried so far.

I just wanted to know if you can give me any recommendations on what I NEED to try. I´ve already ordered some Domoris from the Bitter and Zart in Frankfurt but I feel I need to try all good ones.

Just to give the "insiders" a little help. My favourite chocolates are the Valrhona Amapamaki and the Cluizel Ilha Toma. I absolutely don´t like the raved Cluizel Los Ancones. Thought I like Cluizel Concepcion and Mangaro at the beginning but don´t find them too special anymore. Also, didn´t think the Valrhona Chuao was real special.

Any recommendations based on that "description" of my taste???!!!

Thanks a lot in advance!

I´d love to get your input

Missie (who just enjoys a milk coffe, water and some ilha toma)

June 15, 2004
10:07 am
alex_h
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well, as a fan of ampamakia and not such a great fan of los ancones (or cluizel in general) i think we might have some similarities in taste.

so here're my likes...:

domori - puertomar
domori - puertofino
amedei - porcelana
amedei- chuao
leysieffer - cuba
leysieffer - madagascar
valrhona - manjari (without the orange pieces)

and valrhona - chuao

and dislikes:

slitti
bonnat
lindt
and on and on and on...

hope to have helped you some.

June 15, 2004
1:08 pm
missiejoy
Karlsruhe, Germany
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Hallösche!

Thanks a lot for your help.

I´ve ordered the puertomar but forgot all about the puertofino. Ohm have the porcelana on order as well.

Well, we really might have a similar taste. I HATE Lindt! All that sweet artificial flavour. But then again, I guess most chocoholics hate Lindt!!!

It´s so weird I never tried the Leysieffer´s. Even was in their shop in Berlin and only bought little cubes of their 70 % chocolate. I guess that was back when I didn´t want to spend too much money on chocolate yet and just got little ones for taking along.

Heard so many raves about the Valrhona-Manjari, definitely need to try that one.

Oh, do you happen to know the Rovira- Rajoles, El Rey-Ampanate and the Chocolate Society 67 %?! Just asking since we seem to have a similar taste.

Thanks so much for you input!!!!!

June 15, 2004
2:02 pm
alex_h
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hallösche zurück ;-)

no problem.
at first taste i liked domori's porcelana but the last order i tasted was not at all to my liking.
as far as i know, lindt is artificial.
leysieffer is actually one of the first chocolates of higher percentage that i tried because it is so readily available here in germany. i just recently tried the two i mentioned above and liked them. the cuba had a rum-cherry taste to it imo. and the madagascar had something reminiscent of coconut.

if you want to try manjari without the oranges you will have to buy either the 200g cooking slab or the tasting squares.

i've tried rajoles and posted my opinion here somewhere. the 70% is ok for eating, less so for experiencing great tastes. up to recently i was a big fan of the 100%; now i can't really get excited about it. had too much i guess. maybe a piece of domori puro again sometime...

the others you mention i only know by name, but i'm sure someone here has tried them and would offer information. martin likes the chocolate society organic, i think.

lots of fun to you!

June 15, 2004
5:09 pm
missiejoy
Karlsruhe, Germany
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Thanks again!
Well, package will be here tomorrow. Soooo excited. Might need to go running in the morning, so I can do more tasting....Summer can be so hard on a chocolate loving girl!!! LOL

I´ve not seen the tasting squares of the Manjari anywhere, probably didn´t pay attention though, since I didn´t like the other two kinds they have. If not I will have to go for the 200 g one. Such a pitty.......LOL.

Thanks for your fast replies.

Did you know that you can order from Bitter and Zart in Frankfurt via phone?! Don´t have too many good chocolates in Karlsruhe!

I WILL DEFINETELY HAVE FUN!!!!!

June 15, 2004
5:28 pm
alex_h
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well, it's not just the girls who've got to keep moving ;-)

i haven't seen manjari squares so far either. and right now i order the rare chocolate i can't get here from berlin.

i must check and see whether they've got an website. ordering over the phone sounds old fashioned but cool though.

June 16, 2004
3:49 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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El Rey's Amamate is pretty good, but Gran Saman is much better; depsite Apamate's higher cocoa content, the extra cocoa butter really mutes the intensity. If you can, go for Gran Saman instead, or get both to compare. Apamate is slightly fruity, with more of a smoky earthiness to it; it starts off earthy, then builds up to a mild fruitiness, then back to the earthiness. It's a bit gritty at first, but it smoothens as it melts.

Lindt's Excellence bars are good, actually, although rather fruity: the 70% and the 85%. There are no artificial ingredients in them either, so therefore these are the two products by Lindt I will eat.

Manjari comes in squares too, and they are available for retail sale, but most stores just don't carry them. I think this is a mistake because overall, they demand a higher price, and they sell a lot faster than larger bars. When people see a smaller piece of chocolate, they think it's more manageable. Which other two did you not like from Valrhona? Have you tried Guanaja or Caraibe yet?

I love Ilha Toma as well, and it's a shame Cluizel ceased its production. If you can, try to get Guittard's L'Harmonie 64%; it has big floral flavors with excellent texture, but it's rather mild and not as assertive/fruity as Manjari. What kind of flavors do you prefer in chocolate? By flavors, I mean smokiness, fruitiness, spiciness, earthiness, etc.

You don't like a lot of Cluizel's line and some Valrhona bars, so I would recommend Cuba Venchi or Dolfin, simply because they're dark roasters, and their chocolates lack the complexity of the brands you listed. Slitti and Domori would be good choices, as well.

June 16, 2004
9:36 pm
missiejoy
Karlsruhe, Germany
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Thanks for the recommendations!!!

Well, I don´t like all Lindt bars. I tried them all and they just don´t seem to give me anything. I feel like I´ve really gotten a chocolate snob. "Won´t let the worse one touch my tongue....." LOL

I trieb the Valrhona Chuao, Gran Couva, Caraibe, Gujana. Are the Manjari squares packed in black/green. Now that I think about it I think I had them in a pack of little ones together with the Gunaja and their white chocolate. Can´t remember the taste...... I definitley liked the Ampamakia the best out of the Valrhonas, the Chuao was quite nice but not as good as the Ampamakia.

When it comes to flavours I think I might be liking fruity a lot, as is the Ampamakia. I´m not too good in describing taste yet. All I know that I really have to force myself to eat the Cluizel-Los Ancones and not throw it away!!!! It´s just so smoky. I feel like smoking a cigar!!!

I have quite a nice list of chocolates I want to try. So now I have to find a place where I can get them.

I found a place where they still have some Ilha Toma but they won´t ship again until September!!!

Oh, on the Cluizel website they have a new plantation chocolate but nothing about its taste yet. "under construction"

I also very much like buying little chocolates even if they end up being more pricy. It really has a psychologic factor to it. Also, I know if I buy a bar, I will probably eat half of it. If I buy the little ones, I´m just so much more aware of how much I´m eating that I really prefer those. Although I just had some Cluizel-Mangaro in little sqares and didn´t think the flavour to them was as good as in the normal bar.

Thanks for all your recommendations!!!!

The shop that doesn´t ship til September also was in Berlin. I guess I´ll just NEED to visit some friends there soon!!!

June 17, 2004
2:53 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Hallo, Missiejoy and welcome to the crazy gang.

I've been out of here for a little while (in chocolate time it seems like an eternity to me ...) - very unlikely me.

I think you've got great recommendations already and won't suggest any other bars yet although I'm very tempted.

Just a comment on Los Ancones: I agree it's a strange one, and I find myself hovering between loving and disliking it (actually a general habit I've realised). I'm neither particularly good in describing taste, but smoky would probably have been the last label crossing my mind. Can you elaborate? If at all it's possible to associate with cigar, it must be those fraganced soaked in cognac ones. But as we all agree - taste is like ... well, you know.

Now a question for you. I'm going to Berlin soon - hopefully in hours actually - and a visit to In't veld is on my agenda. Have you got any other recommendations for where to practice some chocohedonism?

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 17, 2004
9:23 am
alex_h
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missiejoy, lone,

i find ancones has a strong licorice taste that i don't really care for. i can't taste it everytime but it is usually there.
btw, i tried some venchi licorice chocolate yesterday... umm, suffice it to say that i won't be trying it again. if i want licorice i'll just go ahead and buy some (there is so much great licorice out there).

as for smokey or tobaccoey: i didn't get that with ancones either, lone. the chocolate that reminds me most of cigars or tobacco is amedei, particularly chuao and porcelana. but not every time.

in berlin the only place i know is in't Veld (see link in my profile).

strangely i like cluizel's origin squares but not so much the bars. as you say, missie, there is a certain psychological factor that comes into play. i won't eat quite as much domori puertomar (though it's my favorite) as i would another larger bar. well, price also figures.

yesterday evening i needed a chocolate fix and found myself with only a selection of cluizel. i took the 72% and was happy with the choice.
it is interesting how the different philosophies of different chocolate makers reflects on the product (and ultimately on me, the customer)...

domori and amedei are the masters of the craft and when i eat their chocolate i try and take it slow.

cluizel and valrhona are good makers and make a good chocolate snack.

then there are the really low-end chocolates (which i do consider every now and then). for me these are those with vanillin and flavorings. not what i eat if i have the choice. but not necessarily bad if you ain't got nothin' else (no blasphemy intended ;-)
something "worth" trying here (especially if you are from germany) is sarotti's new 72%. smoothe, not bitter. but artificial. you immediately smell the candy.

a friend of mine mentioned jamie what's-his-name's cooking show. (i'm talking about the young and hip english chef. i forgot his last name.) apparently for one chocolate dessert he made, he went to some great chocolate shop where chocolate is chopped off of blocks. anyone know any more about this? what chocolate that might be? anything unusual to us?

June 17, 2004
2:56 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Alex, his name is Jamie Oliver, and I saw the same episode. Actually, he has several episodes where he visited a local chocolate store; in one episode he had an unsweetened bar wrapped in plastic (perhaps Slitti), and in another other he had Valrhona's Manjari (I recognized the black box with teal colorings). I think there might be another one too, but it's been over a year since I saw that one.

I also think that the individually wrapped tasting squares play a psychological role. When you see such a small size, you think of it more as a treat simply because of its small size and the nice wrapping. However, I only think of them as means for testing and trying out different chocolate without buying a whole bar. As a result, when I buy a larger bar, I feel as if that's more "special," because I need to eat more than 5g and 10g and enjoy the full chocolate experience. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm being ripped off with the squares because I need to eat at least three to be satisfied.

I don't taste any smokiness in Los Ancones either. I think the flavors are so wild and all over the place; it's really quite unique. It has a grassy flavor, like pistachios, and of course the licorice nuances. Maybe you had a bad bar? One brand that reminds me of smokiness and tobacco is Castelain.

Alex, considering all the chocolates around, and Cluizel being a very prestigious brand, I wouldn't exactly be too unhappy with being forced to Cluizel heh [:D] But I know what you mean; once you eat a certain chocolate and love it, you want to eat more, and nothing else can really compare or satisfy you until you eat that particular chocolate.

The new single origin chocolate is Maralumi, from the Maralumi Plantation in New Guinea. It won't be available until later this year from what I've heard.

June 17, 2004
3:25 pm
alex_h
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squares are generally a rip-off because they are so much more expensive than the same amount in the corresponding bar.

that's the name! it'd completely slipped my mind. so the chocolate he uses isn't some otherworldly, inaccessible stuff? good to know that we are still at the fore ;-)

monte, you tryin' for a gold star?! where in g*d's name do you get all of your information??

June 17, 2004
7:08 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Alex, what do you mean? I do some research here and there, and I do some E-mailing occassionally. The only good purpose tasting squares serve is for trying the chocolate before buying the bar.

June 18, 2004
9:31 am
alex_h
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well, you seem pretty well informed! the remark wasn't intended as criticism. i hope it didn't come off that way.

well, squares also serve as handouts to customers or are probably good at tasting parties. or if u want a bit of variety without consuming entire bars. i think i myself would lean towards cluizel's neapolitaines before buying one of their origin bars, for example. and amedei's crus are only available in squares (as is the case with domori too).

June 18, 2004
2:24 pm
missiejoy
Karlsruhe, Germany
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Wow, so much info!! I guess I need to read over it again!!!! Everybody seems to be quite well informed.

Lone, As to other shops in Berlin, other than Int´Velds I only found this one ( Benjowski Teehandelshaus, Danziger Str.3, D-10435 Berlin, http://www.benjowskitea.de/cho...../erich.htm) but they only seem to have Cluizel and Dolphin. And, but you know that one for sure, the Leysieffer shop.

Okay, so the cigar I taste in Los Ancones is either a bad square or I need to check my senses if I mix liquorice and cigar, LOL.

The psychological factor of the little squares is tremendous. I had six little Cluizel ones yesterday and felt sooo bad I had eaten so much, where as I probably would have eaten half a normal bar and not have felt having eaten too much. Oh, I found a Cluizel 72 % bar in a 30 g bar. I guess that´s quite a nice size for me. Although being afraid I won´t like Cluizel too much after trying Domori.....

Oh, I was in Tübingen yesterday for a lecture and I came across a shop, where they had Bonnat. Of course I needed to try. I HATE them. Especially the Puerto Cabello. The only one I like so far is the Java, being a little sweet though. I also got the Surabaya, Chuao and Madagaskar and no, no and again no. I need to try them again each one seperately and not one piece of each but I´m quite shocked, so many people like this!!!

Alex, I just checked you likes/dislikes again. I guess we´re really somewhere on the same line!!!!!

I also got my Domoris today from Bitter and Zart and if I had known I definitely wouldn´t have eaten all that Bonnat but now I´ll wait until tomorrow.

Ampamakia definitely is my favourite so far and I´m really looking forward for it being challenged by Domori!!!!

Monte, thanks for that Cluizel info!!

I need to come across some of that Manjari!!!!!

June 18, 2004
2:56 pm
alex_h
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missie,
if you taste cigar, then cigar it is, eh? i think pretty much any bar is open to free interpretation/association.
i am getting used to cluizel as an eating chocolate compared to domori and amedei as tasting chocolates. but i think i prefer cluizel's 72% to their origin plantation bars.

you do seem to have strong antipathy towards bonnat ;-)
i think their bars are a bit harsh and won't go out of my way to get my hands on any.
it is interesting how different people can have such different tastes. many love slitti and bonnat. i guess i (and you for that matter) am not one of them.

yes, we do have common faves. and i still think ampamakia is a damn good bar. btw, i think i might just go out and buy some today!

don't they stock manjari at the place you get your ampamakia? in munich karstadt sells 200g manjari for cooking.

June 18, 2004
6:01 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Alex, I didn't take it as criticism; I was just making sure you were referring to me [:)]

Missie, those six squares equal one 30g bar, which, btw, are pretty handy and are actually a fairly decent sized bar (if the price isn't outrageously high). Too bad they only come in 72%, 85%, Noir Infini, and milk.

What exactly don't you like about Bonnat? Is it the texture? If that's the case, then El Rey wouldn't suit you; however, you might like them flavor-wise.

How old are your Los Ancones squares? I have some too, and they have lost their flavor, but my bars taste perfect. I think that either age or improper storage is the culprit. Or...maybe the smaller size causes the flavor to diminish quicker because of the smaller surface area and width. This has also happened to my Manjari and Guanaja squares, but as with Los Ancones, the bars taste fine.

June 18, 2004
8:07 pm
missiejoy
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Alex, I couldn´t find any Manjari without Orange yet. Strange. I´ll just have to ask and make them order. If the Karstadt in Munich has it, they should be able to order it for me.

I really want an Ampamakia right now, not liking all the Bonnat. But the shop I get it from doesn´t have it at the moment!!! They said they already ordered but their retailer didn´t have it either. Waiting anxiously. I´m starting to think not to try so much more.....

Oh, we might have likely tastes but no the same ones after all....Needed to try my Domori Puertomar and Porcelana. Very amazing chocolate, offering sooo many different tastes. It feels like there are different layers of taste. Anyhow, not really my kind of flavour........ I think I don´t like the cherry or jam taste to it. I´ll try again some other day but as for now, I really should have stayed with my Ampamakia I guess.

Monte, I dislike the Bonnat not for their texture but for their taste. The texture is a little problem since I like the chocolate to melt a little in my mouth but I would get along with that if it had a great taste. But I can´t find it.......

The squares I got yesterday of the Ilha Toma were definitely bad!!! I think the Los Ancones might have slightly as well. It´s just really hard to tell how long the store has been having them lying around already. I agree that they loose their flavour faster since they are so small. The little ones were 25 Cents and the 30 g one 1.30. The big one is 3.25 here, so that is really not that much a difference in price here.

So, I guess, I will get myself down to only trying the Manjari one and then stick with my Ampamakia I guess.

Thanks boys

Missie

June 18, 2004
10:48 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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I wish Valrhona produced Manjari in either 100g or 75g bars as well. Manjari (without orange peel) only comes in 2.2lb blocs, 200g baking bars, and 5g squares. Maybe we need to pester Valrhona persistently until they finally make some decent sized bars [:D]

June 19, 2004
3:31 pm
missiejoy
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GREAT IDEA!!!! I will send them an email right away!!!

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