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So..I'm brand new....
October 6, 2003
9:21 pm
aymbereye
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October 6, 2003
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Having had my first ‘real’ chocolate bar this Saturday, a WONDERFUL Michel Cluizel Hacienda Los Ancones which I had to actually gather up my courage to buy, in a snobby little Vosges shop in Soho, loving dark chocolate but thinking it was all the same (!!!)……I have now officially ‘crossed over’.

So, as soon as I got to work, I found Chocosphere, and this site as well.

I have now ordered, in a frenzy of chocolate lust, the following:
1)2 more of that Cluizel
2)Valrhona Ampamakia and Guanaja
3)Dagoba 59% Organic Dark
4)El Rey Gran Saman
5)Slitti 45% Lattenero
6)and just for fun..Valor Dark Chocolate with Almonds, because I always wanted to know if there was such a thing.

And, if int’l shipping doesn’t turn out to be too much, I also ordered (from here)Valrhona Caraibe Pearls,Bonnat Puerto Cabello, and- gulp- the Starbucks ‘bar of the month’, because I haven’t seen those in the NYC Starbucks here.

Yikes!

Yes, I am one psychotic young lady. But I do have friends to share these with- it won’t just be me, hiding in a corner, nibbling away (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

The point of all this?
Well, most people here seem to know their stuff. I’d love comments about the bars I am about to try, as well as any new suggestions…
thanks!

“Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown…”

"Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown..."
October 6, 2003
11:56 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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July 26, 2003
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You sound just like me. I’ve always loved dark chocolate, but never realized that all chocolate is not the same. Once I discovered chocolate, I’ve been trying to learn as much as possible about the history and production of it. I moved from american candy to the low quality Feodora to the tasy Chocolove to the superior El Rey, Valrhona, and Cluizel. I buy a bunch of bars from a store that I know every coouple of weeks and just horde them from everybody. I’m selfish. : ] Guanaja is an excellent bar. Very smooth and clean melt with dark almond and coffee flavors. Gran Saman is another favorite of mine. Very dry, gritty, and earthy nut flavors. Los Ancones is great, but, like most people, I don’t eat much of it because it’s almost TOO different. Try Cluizel’s 72% bar. It has a great taste when it’s in your mouth, similar to a tart berry. Toward the end of the aftertaste it gets rather sour, being its only downside.

Domori is at the top of my ‘to try list’. I’ll have to seek them out.

October 8, 2003
1:47 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Guanaja is definitely a good chocolate: it’s not as fruity and acidic as Noir Amer 71%, but it has amazing depth of flavor. Another chocolate from Valrhona to try is Manjari; this is extremely fruity, but not as strong (only 64%). As noted earlier, Gran Saman is quite dry and gritty. If you don’t like it, give it another shot, then try Apamate. It’s much smoother but still has that characteristic El Rey grittiness. Try Dagoba’s New Moon 74% bar. It has a lovely mahogany-purplish color and a smooth woodsy flavor. If you can, also try Chocolove’s organic 73%. All of Cluizel’s bars are extraordinary, and if you like milk chocolate, try his Lait Pur de Java. His Amer Brut 72% does leave a rather sour aftertaste, but if you don’t like the fruitiness that’s typical of many other bars, then stick with this one. Ilha Toma is another good Cluizel bar; it’s quite buttery, has nuances of vanilla malt, and yet maintains a stronger chocolate flavor depsite its relatively low cocoa content. You might have to taste this one several times before you fully appreciate it, but it’s worth the attempts.
Let us know what you think of the chocolate you ordered and which ones are your favorites.

October 8, 2003
4:03 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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Speaking of Chocolove, they’re complete bar line should be back in stock by Friday the tenth. They have their 55% and 65% bars, but nothing stronger. I’ll finally be able to try that organic bar. Their 70% bar is pretty tasty. It has a strong carmel taste, so it can get pretty overwhelming, but it’s good in moderation.

October 8, 2003
6:57 pm
stevec
London, United Kingdom
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August 7, 2006
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Welcome to the real world Aymbereye. Tasting real chocolate is like a ‘red pill’ epiphany from which there is no turning back.

How prevalent is real chocolate appreciation over there in the States?
It is still only quite a small band of us over here in Britain, though that is slowly changing, sites like this one are definitely making a difference.

My personal favourite at the moment is Domori Puertomar. Checkout the review it gets on this site, i couldn’t say it any better. Fantastic.

When do you guys usually enjoy your chocolate? After a meal, as a treat,in the middle of the night, or do you not have any particular occasion or time of day when you partake?

firepants

firepants
October 8, 2003
7:46 pm
aymbereye
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October 6, 2003
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I haven’t gotten my Chocosphere order yet (the big one- due tomorrow), and I’m still fine-tuning my order here (DOMORI!!), but I’m quite psyched. Once I manage to try all the bars (next month? Next year!?) I will definitely be checking out Chocolove, bob, since I noticed they were a little behind last I checked their site. It will be nice to not have to convert money to order them!

In terms of chocolate appreciation, I have yet to find a woman who doesn’t like it (stereotypical, right?) but I think many people traditionally shy away from dark. In light of what’s been offered (“Hershey’s Special Dark, anyone?”) no wonder, really. In general though I think it may be awhile before this kind of chocolate appreciation goes mainstream- it’s hard to find, you can’t get it at the 7-11, and there are a lot of people still debating how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie out there. Baked goods I think is still how many people get their chocolate fixes.

But I think as wines, particularly red, have gained greater popularity with my generation (20′s), along with darker beers, and thanks to Starbucks, coffees, I really expect that the notion of good chocolate = milk to change as the American palate grows up. Of course there will always be Hershey’s. But I at least will no longer be eating it.

oh, and times to eat it? 3-5:00pm. When you’re stuck at the office and just want to GO HOME.

“Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown…”

"Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown..."
October 8, 2003
7:51 pm
stevec
London, United Kingdom
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August 7, 2006
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Where are you ordering your Domori from?
I hear they are about to sell it on this site any day now.

firepants

firepants
October 8, 2003
8:08 pm
stevec
London, United Kingdom
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August 7, 2006
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You mentioned Soho, i assume that is Soho in NY.
You know that there is the New York Chocolate Show in November 13-16,
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th Street
(between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10011

I suspect there’ll be a lot of chocolate ODs in NY that week.
Maybe you should go and report back to us.

firepants

firepants
October 8, 2003
10:58 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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July 26, 2003
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Aymbereye pretty much summed chocolate in the U.S. up. It’s not available everywhere at many places. I can only find a few brands in gourmet food and natural food stores. In fact, I’ve noticed that a lot of people I see in the gourmet food stores are from European countries. Well, as long as the mass amount of people regard Hershey’s as high as they do, quality chocolate will be an underground thing.

Speaking of Hershey’s, I just ate a piece of my first bar in a while, and I was floored! I now TRUELY appretiate the chocolate that I’ve been eating.

Some days I just munch on it through the day, like my days off and whatnot, but this is not often. Most of the time I eat it at the end of the day a few hours after dinner during my “relax time”.

October 9, 2003
4:01 pm
aymbereye
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October 6, 2003
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So I just got my package. I’m a little bowled over~! I couldn’t start alone so I invited a Hershey’s/Reese’s obsessed coworker to try the Guanaja with me. He really dug it. Actually, so did I- how could I not, really? I love the way these chocolates announce themselves so slowly on your tongue- one minute, nothing, you’re chewing, waiting, the next second, “Oh, hi!!” I forced myself to only eat half. Wonderful stuff. Really silky. Then for fun I thought I’d try the Gran Saman. Wow. What a difference. It was like drinking espresso after cocoa. Or something. I warn you, I’m terrible with these descriptions. Really different. No danger of eating the whole bar here, but I enjoyed it all the same.
I’ll update later as I go, if anyone’s interested. Although I suppose at some point I’ll have to start a new thread!
Oh and YES. I will most definitely be attending the NYC chocolate show.

“Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown…”

"Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown..."
October 10, 2003
3:17 am
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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That’s how I felt about the Gran Saman at first as well, but it grew on me quite quickly. I find myself picking that one up more and more often. In fact, I just bought another one today. Btw, Mont, how would you rank the lower percentage El Rey bars? Are they sweet, or do they follow the same trend as Apamate vs. Gran Saman (Gran Saman being stronger despite its lower cocoa content)? I’m a little cautious to buy lower percentages because I’m not into the sweet chocolates that much. Speaking of which, I still havn’t tried the Icoa White yet. I havn’t tried the Manjari yet, either, because I can only find the flavored one.

October 10, 2003
10:08 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Quick note: Valrhona don’t make a Manjari bar apart from the flavoured one. You have to get the 200g Gastronomie bar instead. It’s worth it though.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
October 10, 2003
11:11 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I haven’t tried the lower percentage El Rey bars yet; only Gran Saman, Apamate, and Icoa. The reason being that I don’t want to buy them yet when I can use the same money on other chocolate I would rather try. Eventually, I will try them, though.
The other day, I went a little crazy with the Guanaja as well. I had a little piece, but it was so good I ate another and then another. Unfortunately, I forced myself to stop.
If you can only get Manjari in 200g form, then go for it. However, Valrhona makes tasting squares of it, so maybe you want to see if you can obtain some before buying such a large quantity. Manjari is quite strong and bitter for a 64%; however, it is still quite sweet when compared to higher percentage chocolate, but the sweetness doesn’t reveal itself until the end, especially in the aftertaste. I think that only a lower percentage chocolate matches well with the level of fruitiness that this chocolate possesses. Anything stronger would be, well Scharffen Berger.

October 11, 2003
2:37 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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I’m slightly confused. The Manjari is a 64% and the Gastronomie is a 61% and 250g according to chocosphere. Do they taste similar? Are they the same chocolate, just different amounts of cocoa butter? I can’t find any info on a 200g Manjari.

October 11, 2003
3:02 pm
aymbereye
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October 6, 2003
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Try chocosphere.com – they’ve got it, I think. (along with a ton of other stuff.)

“Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown…”

"Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown..."
October 12, 2003
1:42 am
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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Ah, it was hiding from me. I looked earlier, but didn’t see it. Sweeeet.

October 12, 2003
1:48 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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The Gastronomie is a plain, basic house blend from Valrhona. Good for cooking but compared to some of the better chocolates around now, nothing special. Manjari is fruity floral and still one of my favourites, in another class compared to the Gastronomie. You must try it if you haven’t already.

Both are available here by the way, for UK buyers.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
October 13, 2003
4:46 am
Joema
Cambridge, USA
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October 13, 2003
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Hi all

I love Valrhona’s Ampamakia so much that I just bought a wooden case full from chocoshere.com. Amazing aroma–strawberries and maybe cinnamin. Glorious melt, a slight burn and huge lime/berry tartness that fades into a rich creaminess. Amazing. Have you tried that one yet, ayembereye? REALLY want to try Domori Puertomar and Porcelana, but can’t find in US.

October 13, 2003
11:57 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I can fully understand that Joema, Ampamakia really is that good. Was it the 2002 you had? That is all gone now and I’m waiting to see what the 2003 will be like.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
October 13, 2003
2:33 pm
aymbereye
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Oh, wow. I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to get the Ampamakia any more! I finished it last night! I really like(d)? it, by the way. I was eating a square of the Guanaja and followed it with the Ampamakia and I loved how ‘sweet’ it tasted, in comparison. Sigh! I guess now I just have to look forward to the 2003!

“Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown…”

"Oh, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown..."