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July 26, 2003
Why is it that different bars of the same chocolate could taste different? The store that I buy my chocolate from has been out of Cluizel’s 72% for some time. They finally got new stock in and this new bar tastes completely different. When I ate from the first bar, it was one of my favorites, so I know the flavor well enough. I may not bee good at describing flavors, but I know the taste of each of the bars I’ve had, and I didn’t even recognize this new 72%. Any explanations?
July 31, 2006
This is a late reply (I’m just catching up), but we were actually talking about this to John Scharffenberger last night (name dropper!). This is definitely the same bar right – not one of the new origin bars? If it is, one reason for variation is this chocolate is a blend, made from a range of beans. Though the blender will try and achieve a consistent flavour, there’s a lot going on in the world at the moment – war in the Ivory Coast, political unrest in Venezuela – that can affect the supply of beans, so an identical flavour from batch to batch is not always possible.
I think this is fundamentally true of both blended chocolate, and even more so of course for origin chocolate – where it would be much harder to hide variations. I recently had a bar of Valrhona Guanaja that had a very different flavour to what I am used to – much drier and smokier, so even the biggest names can have deviations from their standard.
This is a subject worth exploring and it would be interesting to hear if anyone else has any similar experiences.
July 26, 2003
Wow, Scharffenberger is the actual name of the family that owns the company? Do you know what nationality that is? Anyway, yeah, it was defiantly their blended 72% that I was tasting. I know that it is pretty probable that origin chocolates will have variations in flavor between years due to humidity and soil, I just come to expect some consistency, you know. Do you know how the process goes when trying to recreate the blend? I’d imagine that they have sensors to test acidity and other factors, but would that really determine taste?