Originally posted by jfguatemala
I was wondering if you, the more experienced, can accept this theory:
The best flavor chocolate bars come from single bean origin nibs. Or not?
Well, the interesting thing IME is that although *in principle* the best chocolate bars could come from blended chocolates or origin chocolates, *in practice* the best tend to come from single-origin chocolates. Once you reach the ranks of the truly elite, Amedei Chuao, Cluizel Los Ancones and Domori Porcelana simply are marginally better than their blended counterparts. And I’d have to say that Cluizel 72%, Amedei 9, and Domori Blend No. 1 are probably the 3 greatest blended chocolates, so that seems to settle the matter in practice.
I think it’s a matter of market position. A greater proportion of the connoisseur market is more interested in origin chocolate, because it reveals more about individual bean characteristics and many chocoscenti want to experiment and discover as much as enjoy. Meanwhile for the high-end chocolate consumer without that sort of more thorough experience, origin chocolates carry more cachet and exclusivity, so they, likewise, are drawn to them. The net result is that chocolatiers tend to lavish more attention on their origin bars than on their blends. The blends, then, take on the position of “everyday” bars – where an effort is made to keep them to a high standard but it isn’t obsessive.
However, it’s more accurate overall to say that the 2 types represent a very different kind of eating experience. Origin bars have very characteristic flavours, while blends are supposed to approximate a more neutral chocolatey flavour. It would be virtually impossible, for instance, to find a varietal to duplicate the pure chocolatiness of Cluizel 72%, and if one did it would sort of defeat the purpose of having a single origin. Also, that slight edge in ultimate quality that origin bars seem to enjoy in practice is both very slight and applies only at the very very top of the range. Below the ranks of the beyond-greats, blends and origins happen with about equal frequency in the selections of great chocolate.
And of course “best” is a completely subjective term, so any sort of judgement on this point will be completely individual. I very much doubt there would be any real consensus on this point.