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new neuhaus bars
July 19, 2005
10:36 am
alex_h
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just bought a bar from neuhaus, though i haven't been a fan in the past. however, these new bars look interesting.
one is from west africa (the box doesn't specify), one from sao thomé and the one i bought is from venezuela and called occumare. will post what it tastes like later...

July 19, 2005
2:20 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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V.interesting, seen them but not tasted - they are packaged like a book, aren't they?

July 19, 2005
10:19 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I tried one of them, a 73% bar with pieces of orange nougatine. The ingredients are safe (i.e. no artificial ingredients or oils), so I figured the flavor might be as well. After trying it, I was fairly impressed. It's strong with minimal bitterness and a not-too-strong orange flavor. Not bad for Neuhaus.

July 19, 2005
10:20 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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Is this new chocolate from Callebaut? Maybe a unique Neuhaus blend?

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
July 19, 2005
10:34 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Perhaps. The origins sound suspiciously indicative of Callebaut/Cacao Barry. If a company doesn't produce from bean to bar, then about the only other thing it can do to stamp its own manufacturer style onto the chocolate is to customize blends and processing techniques.

July 20, 2005
10:34 am
alex_h
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yeah, ellie, they're packaged a bit like a book with a ribbon. i just finished the chocolate and was also quite impressed. for a neuhaus it's good and like monte says minimal bitterness in the length and the ingredients are simple (cacao, sugar, lecithin). whether the chocolate is from barry or not i cannot say.

flavors were interesting and evolved and swirled, so it's not unexciting.

July 30, 2005
4:18 am
seneca
USA
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Don't know the actual origins either, but I had a chance to check out the West African blend and thought on first taste that it was quite worth another sample at least. Still not sure what to make of the new packaging...it's the same across the whole retail bar line. They haven't raised prices (yet), but that little ribbon deal must cost a bundle :-)

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
September 1, 2005
12:58 am
seneca
USA
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Just a quick update...
I had a chance to sample the Sao Tome 75%, the Ocumare 71% and the Madagascar Milk w/Bourbon Vanilla earlier today. With the exception of the milk, the bars seemed well made, with nice shine and good crisp snap, so whoever is manufacturing them is certainly doing a good job on the basics. (The milk had some pretty large air bubbles and was a bit grainy in texture for my taste.)

I really quite liked the Sao Tome, with pretty classic coffee and earthy cedar notes. It had a really dry finish with a nice long cocoa flavor that certainly left me wanting to try more.

I'm going to have to sample the Ocumare again, but I wasn't overwhelmed. It was quite sweet, something like the Castelain Tradition 71%, but with more black cherry and raisin flavors. Not bad, but lacking a depth I was hoping for.

The Madagascar Milk was waaaaay too sweet to me...I think it's something like 32%, but by far the dominant impression was of sweet sweet vanilla. The chocolate is lingering somewhere in there, but far back behind the other flavors.

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
September 1, 2005
5:47 am
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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Open up the package of the Madagascar milk and you can read this:

quote:


Neuhaus has selected Burbon Vanilla from the very heart of the thousands of flavours on the island of Madagascar, combining it with an assortment of cocoa beans with the magical names Forastereo, Trinitario and Criollo, to create a powerful chocolate associated with creamy milk that will not fail to amaze you.


hm...

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
September 1, 2005
6:03 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Not surprising to hear your assessment of Ocumare, especially since it is typically used in blends to add depth of flavor. On its own, it's sweet natured with lovely spice and red fruit notes, but other than that, it lacks the depth to provide further interest.

A 32% Madagascar milk chocolate, imo, is disastrous from the outset, i.e. it's doomed from its conceptual beginnings, because essentially, Madagascan cacao is just too light for a low cocoa content milk bar. Based on principle, Cluizel has done wonders with Mangaro au Lait 55%, but for darker milks, there are, of course, other options. But once you reach anything above 55%, imo, you're reaching an entirely different level where the basic chocolate could be classified as a dark chocolate with just a splash of milk. Since there are no official regulations that restrict the use of milk solids in dark chocolate, a dark chocolate could contain milk solids and still be classified as such. For instance, Hershey's Special Dark has milk solids but is still classified as a dark chocolate.

September 1, 2005
7:58 am
Masur
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It's supposed to be an origin bar but I'm not conviced all of the beans in the milk bar comes from Madagascar.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
September 1, 2005
3:55 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Why makes you suspicious, Masur?

September 1, 2005
5:55 pm
seneca
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I definitely agree that Malagasy milks are generally a pretty sketchy concept, although the Mangaro Lait really is pretty great. I would love to see somebody try a deep milk with one of the richer Malagasy cacaos--perhaps something like the Pralus Madagascar turned into a 50-60% milk...From my limited experience, it seems like the cacao from the Taomasina area has more depth of flavor than the Santander region, and might pair better.

I'm also curious about Masur's origin question...is it that "assortment of cocoa beans" phrase in their description?

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
September 1, 2005
5:56 pm
seneca
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Sorry...I meant Sambirano above, but wrote Santander :-)

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
September 1, 2005
6:43 pm
Masur
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The bar is called "Madagascar Vanille Bourbon milk chocolate". There is a picture on the front cover showing a vanilla flower and pods. Under the picture you can read "Origines". The bars called West Africa, Sao Thomé and Venezuela all have pictures of beans and/or chocolate ("Origines" is written below the picture).
I might be wrong but this is not clear to me.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
September 1, 2005
7:54 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I still don't understand your confusion and skepticism, Masur. Are all the pictures the same, or is each one representative of each bar's contituent cacao?

September 1, 2005
8:17 pm
Masur
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Each bar has a unique picture. Maybe I should send an e-mail to Neuhaus and ask.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
September 2, 2005
12:52 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Chances are good that they will not reveal to you the sources of their cacao. Even if you get a response, they might say something like, "Ocumare is distinctly from Venezuela and grown from the finest cacao beans, yadda yadda yadda. Our Madagascar is a masterful blend of each cacao type from Madagascar with the addition of the most flavorful Bourbon vanilla, blah blah blah. Each cacao is hand selected with utmost care, dried on banana leaves on the fourth Wednesday of every month when the moon is full and the nights are bright...." In other words, plenty of pod poetry and no definitive answers.

But I am wondering, though, what makes you question the source of their cacao? Does the chocolate not taste like what you have tasted in other similar chocolate? [:)]

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