Hachez – Wild Cocoa de Amazonas Milk

A first attempt to produce a milk chocolate with “wild” cocoa, and Hachez have done a reasonably creditable job. Deviating from their usual mild, ultrasmooth style, here they produce a bar with plenty of flavour, if at some textural sacrifice. Unlike the dark bar, however, the gamble pays off, and while this chocolate may not ..

Artisan du Chocolat – Vietnam

A well-meaning experiment, but one that unfortunately goes awry. Vietnam proves that as an origin it’s just not yet ready for the Premier League, although doubtless not for lack of trying. But although L’Artisan has been perfecting their process and has recently produced a stream of steady winners, this one just literally falls flat, a ..

Pralus – Chuao

After a lengthy sabbatical thanks to Amedei’s exclusive agreement, Pralus returns with a Chuao bar. The previous effort had been interesting and worthwhile; if anything Pralus has done better than the earlier version. Chuao beans take well to a dark roast and Pralus shows off the value of different stylistic interpretations with a bar that ..

Domori – Chuao Hacienda San Jose

Domori – Chuao Hacienda San Jose

Domori’s long-awaited “Chuao” finally appears. Can a chocolate produced outside of Chuao village legitimately be called Chuao? Common sense would seem to say no, but without a doubt, Domori has succeeded in capturing the qualities of the real thing. Clearly they’ve done their homework and identified a bean varietal responsible for the distinct Chuao flavour

Hachez – Wild Cocoa de Amazonas

Among its roster of dark bars, Hachez has finally produced a “winner” but only on a very relative basis. The bar still maintains a mild flavor that here is troubled by problems in the roast and the addition of cocoa powder. It’s also too bipartisan to impart a resolute impression of what direction Hachez wants ..

Valrhona – Alpaco

An unfortunate flop into Ecuadorian territory, Valrhona fails to deliver any sort of cocoa intensity but does manage to deliver good, albeit stifled, notes that are characteristic of the origin and beans

Valrhona – Ta├»nori

A chocolate with plenty of potential that could one day be among Valrhona’s top shelf bars. Comparing most likely to Domori’s Chacao line or, for ease of accessibility, Valrhona’s own Araguani, Tainori is powerful, dark, and replete with good flavor, showing that Valrhona still isn’t afraid to break its own mold

L’artisan du Chocolat – Jamaica

Another bar produced from liquor – one step removed from bean to bar but getting closer – which also turns out to be L’Artisan’s most successful effort to date in this experiment. Almost certainly the finest Jamaica origin on the market, and a fascinating, complex bar. A mix of fruit and nut flavours makes for ..

Galler – Blended Sao Tome Tanzanie

An improbable blending idea – mixing 2 strong Forastero beans with somewhat similar characteristics – creates results that are rather predictable. A very heavy flavour fails to excite and if truth be told it doesn’t seem as though Galler has put much effort into this. The blended line might be the right idea, but here ..

Galler – Blended Equateur Saint Dominique

An good idea from Galler – blending sourced couverture with known origins. They recognise that simply remoulding couverture adds no value, and furthermore it’s commendable to see someone explicitly experimenting with origin blends. Unfortunately, the chocolate just doesn’t contribute anything worthwhile, being a demonstration rather of the sins of overroasting for the most part. Thus ..

Scharffen Berger – Bittersweet 70%

Scharffen Berger’s standard bittersweeet is exactly that: standard. Nothing really sets it apart from the crowd and minor flaws only drag it down a bit more to merely average status. Still, a good effort and a good chocolate overall that’s worth trying

Valrhona – Le Noir 68%

Is this an attempt by Valrhona to move towards a more “mass-market” product? Certainly the way it’s being distributed and described makes one wonder. Unfortunately, the taste makes one wonder too: this is a chocolate of a lower standard than Valrhona usual. If they are not trying an ill-advised foray into “cheaper” chocolate this one ..

Amano – Jembrana Milk

Having achieved spectacular success in mild milk chocolates with the Ocumare, Amano this time stumbles equally spectacularly with a chocolate that just never gets going. With a taste that hovers barely on the edge of perceptibility (which, it must be admitted, is the norm for 30%) Amano shows why greater percentages in milk chocolate are ..