• Our rating: 83.9% (2 reviews)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 70%
  • Guide Price: £3.25, $5.99
  • Description by: Seventy%
  • Production: Produced directly from beans by maker
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • Cocoas
    • Cane Sugar
    • Cocoa Butter
    • Bourbon Vanilla

It is on the island of São Tomé, on the Equator off the coast of central Africa, that the first African cocoa plantations were planted in the 19th century. I found this plantation, where this ample, generous chocolate was born, to the north of the island, near a beautiful beach lined with
coconut and tamarind trees. It expresses notes of a fertile, volcanic, marine soil, which blend, in a superbly lingering delight, with subtle, grassy and liquorice aromas.

Michel Cluizel – 1er Cru de Plantation TamarinaChocolate Review Rating: 83.9% out of 100 based on 2 reviews.

Michel Cluizel – 1er Cru de Plantation Tamarina

Oddly, for Cluizel’s strongest single-origin, a very mild, very accessible 70%. A mellow chocolate, good for relaxing with late at night. Those who are expecting high intensity might do to stay away, but for those who seek a comforting chocolate experience this will be one of the better bars.

Reviews

Hans-Peter Rot: 5-Oct-2006

Posted: October 5, 2006 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:

Tamarina looks more saturated, richer, and quite literally darker than other Cluizel offerings and suggests a stronger flavor than usually encountered. It’s also red and vibrant with a lustrous sheen obscuring the few air bubbles and swirling on the otherwise near flawless bar.

Aroma, also, is fairly uncharacteristic for Cluizel in that it attacks rather than waits to be approached. It’s powerful and assertive, smoky and woody but also highly earthy as an amalgamated redolence of yerba maté smothers a trivial inflection of raspberries. It’s very pleasing to inhale, comforting and reassuring of a familiar flavor encountered many times prior.

Amazingly, the dominant theme is yerba maté: herbal and smoky, yet green underneath, this is the closest resemblance to maté without actually drinking it. It’s robust and hearty, decidedly woody too, this gorgeous flavor is quickly paired with a strong acidity yielding tart raspberries and peaches to both balance and escort the earthiness/smokiness through the length until bitter coffee closes everything off.

Compared to some of the other plantation bars, Tamarina’s texture is markedly different. Indeed, it’s creamier and smoother, perhaps a result of the higher cocoa solids, but whatever the reason, it melts wonderfully, just as you’d expect from Cluizel.

As if refusing Pralus sole proprietorship over smoky chocolate, Cluizel produces a “”monkey see, monkey do”” entry and mimicks the Pralus style almost exactly. However, Tamarina has undergone a few changes since its introduction around 2003. Its flavor then was much fruitier and lacked the smokiness and intensity encountered now, which therefore gives one the impression of an evolving chocolate, changing to suit particular tastes and popular styles. Overall, Tamarina is strong and forceful, yet acidic and light; a thread between two extremes joins the flavors together and creates a seamless profile of smoke and fruit. A refreshing transformation from the Tamarina of old, the future of this chocolate doesn’t appear cloudy at all. In fact, Cluizel now rivals Pralus for the “”best”” Sao Tome chocolate.

Alex Rast: 22-Feb-2006

Posted: February 22, 2006 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 10%
Look/snap: 5%
Taste: 35%
Melt: 5%
Length: 15%
Opinion: 30%
Total/100: 100%
INFO
Best before:
Batch num:
Source:
Supplied by:

This bar is somewhat darker than the other Cluizel origin bars, as one might expect at a higher percentage but still the difference is more than a few percentage points would really make. It leans more towards a blackish red-brown than a maroon red-brown. Finish was slightly imperfect in our sample – matte in colour and with a bit of dustiness. Probably this was simply poor handling in shipment.

The aroma is surprisingly mild, rather like coffee at the outset but then developing into a more distinctive and alluring cedar mixed with raspberry. It’s not an aroma that will blow you away, yet the hint of interest and complexity inspires confidence to try the chocolate itself. Flavour is likewise quite mild, with an initial cast of melon and banana, a soothing blend suggesting pleasant childhood memories. Next comes the raspberry hinted at in the aroma, mixed with cream – there are a lot of fruity flavours, obviously, and it’s nice to see Cluizel hasn’t let any of them slip. Finally the finish reveals that distinctive cedar flavour which harmonises very well with the raspberry.

However, it must be said that all these flavours are asserted only at a mild level, and indeed might be missed if you’re not focussing on singling them out. It makes for a nice, pleasing chocolate but also perhaps for a wish for more power – something that would bring these flavours out in sharper relief. Texture, meanwhile, is very good, although maybe slightly drier than is typical for Cluizel, and also slightly less absolutely smooth – but this is very slight and will pass unnoticed for most, except in a side-by-side comparison with other Cluizel chocolates. What you get is a chocolate that’s a little bit flirtatious – tantalising you with complexity but never coming on strong.

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