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New M. Cluizel unique origin bar - "Los Ancones"
May 6, 2004
2:07 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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For me, taste is different in the morning than later in the day. I guess that might be influenced by previously eaten foods or the fact that simply eating throughout the day affects the tastebuds, and perhaps desensitizes them. Maybe our taste buds are more sensitive during different parts of the day, or maybe they adjust themselves according to the types of food previously eaten. If I’m comparing chocolates, I usually wait a couple minutes after eating each piece, then drink some water and wait a couple more minutes. Sometimes I gargle and spit out the water.

I tasted a slight tobacco/burnt flavor in Amedei’s Porcelana but not the Chuao. The woody/burnt overtone of the Porcelana seemed a little out of place for me, which is why the Chuao tops it, imo. The Chuao, otoh, was perfect: lovely tart fruitiness reminiscent of red berries (like red currants and cranberries) that increased throughout the melt. Not quite as smooth as the Porcelana, but the flavor was much more satisfying.

When I finished off my bar of Porcelana I detected a grassy flavor similar to Los Ancones but not as intense. I absolutley love the creaminess of the bar, and the fruitiness of the bar isn’t too overpowering either. Now all I need is Domori’s Porcelana, which seems to be the best by what everyone else claims.

May 6, 2004
4:36 pm
alex_h
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ooh! you have got to try domori’s porcelana. i am a total fan. but i think his puertomar beats it! talk about smoothe!

as for cluizel: i keep going back to his chocolate, but keep finding it less refined than valrhona. it’s got something i don’t quite like. can’t put my finger on it though.

i’ve heard from others that they like amedei’s chuao more than the porcelana as well. i am still undecided, but am leaning towards porcelana.

btw: i just placed an order for slitti! can’t wait!

May 6, 2004
7:29 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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I know, I want to try Domori’s Porcelana so badly. If anyone has a source for me, I would appreciate the help. I’ve heard so much about it; Amedei’s was good, but if Domori’s surpasses Amedei, then I absolutely have to try it. Also, I want to try the Puertomar and Puertofino; I haven’t been disappointed with Domori yet, so I doubt anything else will fall short of excellent.

I can understand your feelings about Cluizel; I find his 72%, 85%, and Noir Infini a bit sour and bitter (perhaps from under-roasting). His single origin bars are quite good, particularly Los Ancones, which is one of the best chocolates I’ve ever eaten. I think I prefer Cluizel over Valrhona, though, because of the dramatic and varying flavors each bar possesses. Valrhona is a little too fruity for me sometimes, although I do enjoy Caraibe a lot, perhaps more than Guanaja. I still haven’t tried Valrhona’s Ampamakia, Chuao, or Gran Couva, so maybe I need to try those first.

Do you, by chance, taste a smokiness in the Amedei Porcelana? I did, and I think it was a little out of place with the strawberry/passionfruit/cream flavors that were occuring at the time. It seemed to offset the overall dessert-like aspect of the bar. I do love the natural creaminess of it, though, but as I said previously, I need to try Domori’s Porcelana.

May 6, 2004
7:30 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Stupid me, I forgot to ask you: Which Slitti did you order? I’m currently working on the 100%, which seems to get better the more I eat it.

May 7, 2004
11:59 am
alex_h
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:-)
i could name a source, though it’s in germany: http://www.intveld.de. don’t know whether they ship internationally, but they ship in a special cooler in the summertime. i usually have a friend bring me down some bars when she visits munich.

amedei is more of a… how should i put it? hmmm, it’s a swirl and fizz of flavors. and not so much a pronounced chocolatey taste. domori on the other hand is more straightforward and almost has a puddinglike taste (chocolate pudding, of course). it feels heavier on the tongue and waxier, thicker. i must say though, my tongue is less reliable than i might wish it to be.

what i like about both is that they seem to invest much time in what they do.

cluizel for me leaves a bland waxiness on my tongue. maybe i’m not getting the quality here. but i imagine it would be at least as good as that which you get in the states, being closer to france and all.
i haven’t given up on his stuff yet. have three cru bars here right now and taste them on different days to see what might cause the different impressions… time will tell. however, i like valrhona for its fruityness. and ampamakia is fruity, a characteristic i find in various different bars with beans from madagascar. it has almost a milk-chocolate quality as well.

i didn’t like valrhona’s chuao that much. had a bit too much bitterness for my taste. the gran couva is silky smooth. need to try them both again sometime. so much to try and so little time ;-)

amedei’s porcelana didn’t really taste smokey to me. unless you mean the strong tobacco that i find in their chuao as well. or the hint of roasted almonds? i am still looking for the strawberry. my main impression is raisin and tobacco (and then the almonds). but again, my tongue might just not be up to it. or still learning to discern.

domori’s porcelana and puertomar (2 thumbs up!) are also very milk-chocolatey and you wouldn’t believe their percentage if you didn’t know it. puertofino ist as the name suggests very fine and light.

i ordered slitti’s 73%, 82% and 100% as well as his lattenero 70% milk-chocolate and slittosi bread spread. looking much forward to this. i heard slittosi compares to nutella like a solarium to the sun :-) er, i mean the other way around.

i am starting to become a fan of pure 100% stuff. after domori’s puro and rovira’s 100% i am curious for more. maybe bonnat will be my next. i just need to hold my horses a bit before i go broke.

can you compare the three 100′s? i first started out with 99′s which i didn’t like (cluizel, leysieffer), then went to puro (positively surprised) and finally picked up rovira (amazing)…

May 7, 2004
7:07 pm
tom finnerty
edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Hi Alex,

Have you tried any Pierre Marcolini bars ? I would strongly recommend any of them. Also recently tried L’Artisan Du Chocolat Venezuela 72% – they do a range (I believe available online) – their liquid salted caramel truffles are fantastic ! finally Michel Cluizel dark choc bitter truffles definitely worth a taste as well.

May 8, 2004
2:24 pm
alex_h
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tom,

no, i haven’t tried them yet. slowly working my way around all there is and have to take it in stride. otherwise i’ll be poor soon and strung out on cocoa all day.
next up is a package from slitti. and today i bought a bar each of valrhona’s chuao and gran couva to see whether my opinion of either has changed.
in the end i favor pure chocolate bars and less so truffles. they’re something i try every now and then when i get a sugar craving. like yesterday: i bought something call australian homemade (www.australianhomemade.com). yum yum yum.
but many thanks for your recommendation. will try to get my hands on some marcolini and artisan asap.

a

May 10, 2004
3:13 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Cluizel’s Champignons aren’t bad either, both the caramel and gianduja versions.

May 10, 2004
5:16 pm
alex_h
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i can imagine. there are some great truffles out there. like godiva or munich’s dallmayr (who really makes them i don’t know).

i prefer to eat these things only as an exception. too much of a good thing…

May 11, 2004
1:59 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I’m quite impressed by your fine taste. Usually I agree pretty much with flavours listed either in reviews or product information, but when blind testing I do never come up with the same specificity in my descriptions. I know it is all a matter of practice, but anyway: How to dechifer “caramel, tobacco, walnuts, papaya, brushwood, mushroom and dates” (Domori Puertofino) or the flavors of Los Ancones listed by Cluizel himself? As for Puertofino I recognised the mushrooms after tasting, but otherwise I would never come up with such a label myself. Do you use a list or have any system for analysing? I simply want to learn the tricks of the trade – if possible.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 11, 2004
10:55 am
alex_h
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i don’t consider my taste buds to be very reliable. some days they are just off and i can forget any good chocolate. and some days i think my taste is more imagination.
i don’t delve so deeply, however. i am quite satisfied with the bits i taste. i think i would be quite put off if i tasted mushrooms in my chocolate. cheese ok, but mushrooms please no.
my scope is usually limited to chocolatey, citrus, fruity (berries, bananas, tropical?), raisin, almond, nutty, coffee, earthy, and tobacco. texture: creamy, pastey, brittle, dry, crumbly, and waxey (the usual i imagine).
i guess it is just a matter of quality chocolate and time. some days i eat chocolate just to compare tastes and find i overdo a good thing.
i single out faves and keep going back, meanwhile trying new or not so exciting stuff, just for kicks or to compare. i figure you’ve got to know the bad stuff too.
a good chocolate won’t hide its features for long, like a wine. it just needs to evolve.
amedei is an excellent example of a chocolate with very complex and strong taste. try their 70% 100g black tuscanny bar. it’s snap alone is great!
or try this:
1. break a piece off, chew it while swishing to all parts of the mouth/tongue. and just enjoy it quick or slow. sometimes i hold my breath. somehow this allows me to get those hard to reach notes. (and no, it’s not bad breath that otherwise overshadows the taste! ;-)
2. take another piece and let it melt on your tongue. a different experience alltogether.
and if you really want to, go back for a third and final piece
and just eat it! i find that eating with gusto heightens the experience! try not to think of the price ;-)

i am really just a layman when it comes to this. i guess everyone has a different approach.

a

May 11, 2004
10:58 am
alex_h
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it’s all supposed to be fun in the end!

May 11, 2004
10:46 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I do find it fun to taste chocolate and read descriptions of various flavors trying to discover them myselves. I consider this a bit like learning music – it takes some knowledge and training to separate Telemann from Bach, Mozart from Haydn and so on, and it is kind of fun. It adds something to the whole music experience. Very often, especially with Domori and Amedei which indeed are complex and strong in taste, I recognise some particular flavours without being able to tell exactly what it is. As for either Puertofino or Puertomar (don’t remember which one it was), I instantly thought banana well aware it was quite not a suitable lable and only one among several. I guess what appeared to me as banana could have been walnuts, mushrooms, papaya and dates (if Puertofino) or cream, almonds and cherry jam (if it was Puertomar). Maybe it’s all a matter of hard exercise … ;-)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 11, 2004
11:10 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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I always taste flavors I can’t descrobe, but that only forces me to eat more just so I can finally label it. Once I do, I feel victorious, like I accomplished something hah. I like to taste a chocolate, come up with my own descriptions, and then see how they compare to other people’s perceptions and even the brand’s perceptions. If I’m accurate, then I’m on a huge ego trip for the day! However, I find that once I read a chocolate description, I do indeed taste what others taste in the bar…most of the times. Sometimes I have difficulty, but everyone’s tastes and taste buds are different. Add to that, other influencing things such as time of day, temperature, and food previously eaten, reviews and descriptions will vary quite a bit.

May 12, 2004
11:01 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Montegrano,

It sounds familiar to me. It happens annoyingly often that I can’t come up with a proper label although I recognise the taste. Last time it happened I immediately thought Christmas – at grandma (!) (ie. not at home) – thinking dates, figs, marcipan, walnuts etc – and later reading on the product info: woods ;-) A half victory! But I’m improving.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
January 7, 2005
6:32 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Just finished my last bar of Los Ancones, and man was I floored by the olives and rum. They stormed in right away, then tart berries slowly emerged and gave rise to a final flavor of apricots. What an excellent chocolate. Still #1 on my list.