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the four roads to Chuao
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Hans-Peter Rot
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November 3, 2004 - 6:15 pm
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I was able to conduct a four-way Chuao taste test with Amedei, Bonnat, Pralus, and Valrhona. Amedei's is clearly the winner. Their roasting time and Chuao's ability to withstand a slightly longer roasting time really enhance its flavors to the fullest extent and allow a perfect balance. Bonnat was second, followed by Pralus, then Valrhona pulling up the rear. Vanilla and blueberries were common flavors among all four. Bonnat's bar was probably more complex with additional flavors of blackberries, plums (an overall red fruit tone), and cinnamon, but it seemed as if something was missing, perhaps a little dry. Pralus' Chuao had blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, and plum too, but because Pralus roasts longer than most brands, these flavors seemed subdued and convergent. Despite Chuao's strength, it's still a Criollo, and thus demands a lighter roast than what Pralus delivers. Valrhona's Chuao had wonderful flavor, but it was extremely inconsistent with the typical Chuao flavor profile. Nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon (combined, to create the effect of a lebkuchen) were dominant flavors, with blueberries and vanilla exisiting in the background and being too overpowered. Morevoer, this one definitely needs to be increased to at least 70%. Perhaps the additional sugar enhanced these secondary flavors, whereas the more robust flavors inherent of the Chuao bean require higher cocoa contents to be fully detected. Nonetheless, it was extremely interesting to discern these differences and to see different takes on the same bean, from light roasting to dark roasting, from weaker cocoa contents to stronger, etc. Amedei's style is clearly suited best to Chuao, and I'm quite pleased, especially since they have exclusive rights to it. This is where I find fault with their Porcelana, however, which really demands a much lighter roast.

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alex_h
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November 3, 2004 - 10:59 pm
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whew! talk about in-depth review. you need to be writing a book, man!

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Hans-Peter Rot
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November 23, 2004 - 6:45 am
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Just finished another Amedei Chuao, and I can't believe how good this chocolate is. The molasses really stands out (a definite plus), and it's more tart than the other brands. Stronger blackberry and plum tones than blueberry, and the vanilla is very faint, only lending a minor flavor contribution in the beginning. Valrhona's bar also has a strong molasses flavor (not nearly as prominent as Amedei's), but the lemon and spice overpower it too much.

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the four roads to Chuao | Fine chocolate bar discussion | Forum