June 5, 2005
( I just tried Pralus Idonesie, Valrhona Amamakia and Cao Grande, and Neahuas Venezuala and West Africa for the first time this week. [:)] )
I have noticed that each chocolate brand has a specific style and that I strongly prefer certain styles to others. (I like all Guittard bars, and I dislike all Scharffen Berger bars).
Anyway, I still have not tried anything by Bonnat, Domori, Amedei, or Michel Cluizel. I want to try as few bars from each of these four companies as is necessary in order to determine whether or not further exploration is worth while.
From my limited experience, I suspect that each company's 70%-ish blend is representative of the rest of the line.
So I think I might try:
Michel Cluizel Noir de Cacao 72% Dark Chocolate Bar
Amedei Toscano Black 'Extra 70%' Cocoa Dark Bar
Domori "Blend No. 1"
As far as I know, Bonnat does not have a single standard blend, so can anyone suggest which bar/s are the most representative from them? Any thoughts about the others? Would the 66% be a better first try for Amedei? At 78%, "Blend No. 1" is higher than the others, pehaps something else would be more representative of their line?
August 1, 2006
You're really doing yourself a disservice if you just want to settle for one bar from each company because each one is vastly different. Granted, there will be some common ground shared by each bar from each company, but because there are so many great chocolates from each company to pick one as "representative" is really being too picky, and if you ask me, not possible. If you've read any of the reviews on this site, I suggest you take them into consideration. Amedei's 70%, imo, is definitely not their best or representative. If you're going to order their chocolate, then why not get the Chuao or Porcelana as well? Besides, no one here can tell you which bar is representative of a company anyway because each line is made and met with different standards and expectations. Furthermore, some companies might not excel with blends but do with single origins, or some companies don't even produce blends at all! So how would you judge then? You would have to pick one lone single origin and decide for yourself if that meets your standards.
Also, I take it you're not too big on fruity chocolate. Well, you will probably be highly disappointed to hear that Bonnat's "best" chocolate (Puerto Cabello, aside from Chuao) is quite fruity and acidic. Otoh, if you like bolder chocolate, then El Rosario is for you. One thing you'll notice about Bonnat, though, is the heavy use cocoa butter. Sometimes, I think I can actually taste it because it seems that a common flavor amongst all the bars is that of fresh pasta (it has that raw doughy flavor). Amedei shines through with their single origins and the Chuao, while Cluizel's Noir de Cacao 72% is superb, perhaps surpassed only by Noir Infini and Los Ancones. And Domori is always a mixed bag, but they have so many great chocolates, it's hard to choose one. Stick with Blend No. 1, but I don't think this is the best "representative" of Domori's style. If you want to taste that, then get the Grandes Cru assortments to start with. There are five different chocolates to get acquainted with.
Besides, I think it's beneficial and useful to taste all the chocolates by a company just to taste firsthand how well each understands the origins and the processes that affect their respectives cacao. That's how you understand a chocolatier, not through one bar.
June 5, 2005
Thanks for the response. I will probably take your advice and try several from each.
Still, I hope to somehow optimize the tradeoff between experimentation with new bars and consumption of my established favorites.
Perhaps I was fooled from my first exposure to Parlus, which tasted very different from everything else I have ever tried. After the Indonesie, I now (perhaps falsely) believe that I have some understanding of what distinguishes Pralus from the others. (I have read here that this is mostly attributed to dark roasting)
Do you consider Guittard as non-fruity? Or perhaps just less acidic? My current theory is that I enjoy fruityness as long as the acidity is not too high.
On a side note, my tolerance for acidity seems to be increasing, as I enjoyed trying the Indonesie and Ampamakia.