I do not mean to spam by “bumping” myself, but it turned out that Castroni is one of the better gourmet stores in Rome. I was able to track down a few of their locations, the one close to St. Peter’s Basilica being the best.
Apart from Amedei, the chocolate selection wasn’t too impressive (some Lindt, a few modest-looking brands I didn’t really feel like trying), but at least they had Amedei – Porcelana, 9 and Chuao.
Porcelana – I’ve bought it in Oslo on earlier occasions, and while it’s a very good chocolate, I’ve never found it earthshattering. A bit too “nutty”/”brown”, where I prefer chocolate to be “fruity”/”red”.
Chuao – Very nice. I did expect it to be bolder and stronger-tasting after having read about it, I found its taste somewhat subtle, but nevertheless extremely well-rounded and close to achieving perfect harmony in its taste. Not too strong, not too weak, and a very balanced and likeable taste. Less fruity than Valrhona, but also less “raw” and with a certain smooth “waxy” texture that seems common to a lot of Amedei chocolate. Not a bad thing.
9 – Initially the most impressive of the lot (and with a higher cocoa percentage), with a very complex taste… I did however find that the aftertaste was slightly more “burnt” than the Chuao, and on repeated tasting I ended up preferring the Chuao. Still, I liked 9 a lot.
Sadly, I was not altogether happy with the “look and feel” of any of the Amedei bars I bought, and I suspect all of them suffered from varying degrees of beginning bloom, something that made tasting a little frustrating. Rome is very hot this time of year :-)