May 21, 2004
As LoneLy metioned in some other thread here at the forum, she had discovered some Domori bars with variations in taste and aroma. This is where vintage chocolates can have an advantage.
If we know that the bar we are eating are made with beans from a single vintage/harvest/batch we might accept some variations from an other vintage. And if there are notisable variations in bars from same vintage, we can complain, or question the quality. Of course producers might try to blame the vintage if they can not deliver consistent quality.
Since the market for top quality chocolates is small, it is not strange that producers don`t bother to label the vintage- people can hardly tell the difference. Most people are easily fooled by marketing and a nice rapping. Hence "Have-you-ever-seen-the-factory-of-Montezuma?"
April 20, 2006
I know that this topic is from two years ago, but I think it is a very good question. What do we prefer?
I do like some blends, and I suppose that consistency has a lot to do with my continuing appreciation of a very good blend (even when some bean changes occur), but I also like very good single-origin chocolates that taste different year after year. I like to taste the differences. It keeps things interesting.
It seems to me that most of the good companies have a nice mixture of the two, some vintage single-origin, and some consistent blends.
April 20, 2006
Oh, and here is something that I've been thinking about after a few conversations and some reading. What if consistency and vintage aren't mutually exclusive. For example, let's say that we see a "2006 Venezuela" bar. We might assume that it is made with only beans from Venezuela, and perhaps always the same beans. However, it could be that it is really a blend that is heavy on Venezuelan beans (or even just over 50% of the cocoa mass). After all, there is no rule or regulation that says that a "Venezuela" bar must contain all Venezuelan beans. Secondarily, let's say that a small percentage of the bar might even be a hybrid of some type heavy on forastero. It could easily be replaced with another bean, even from another country, if the fermentation of a certain batch was off, or if weather in a certain country was not cooperating, in order to allow for consistency.
Another thing to think about is that even when something is labeled in a way that makes us think it is single origin, and even if it seems as clear as day, for example "2006 Porcelana," or even "2006 Hacienda de Xxxxx" it might not only contain "Porcelana" beans or beans from that particular hacienda. I don't actually have proof of any companies doing this, but it is certainly possible to make a "Porcelana" chocolate, for example, and as long as a company doesn't claim to use only those beans, they may add a certain percentage of another type for a more complex flavor, thereby creating a blend bar again that seems to be a single-origin vintage bar.
These are things that I think can't be ruled out. This is why I fully agree with Chloe Doutre-Roussel when she makes her wish known that all chocolate makers say exactly what types of beans are in their bars and make it clear that nothing else aside from what they say is in it.
Something like this:
Made exclusively from an exciting blend of Porcelana, Cuyagua, Ocumare, and Carenero Superior beans, with only pure cane sugar added.
Made exclusively from the highest quality Porcelana beans, with only pure cane sugar added.
Or something like that. Any thoughts?