Soma – Chuao 70%
  • Our rating: 87.5% (1 review)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 70%
  • Guide Price:
  • Description by: Stuart Robson
  • Production: Produced directly from beans by maker
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • Cacao beans, organic can sugar and cocoa butter.

The Legendary "pure and delicate Criollo" from the central coastal highlands of Venezuela. The Chuao plantation produces a variety of cocoa that is famous for its quality and has a well documented history going back to 1592. We picked up a small lot of this cacao and have used gentle roasting and conching with no added vanilla or soy lecithin to make a bar that can tell its own story....Intense, aromatic with notes of toasted almond and dried figs.

Soma – Chuao 70%Chocolate Review Rating: 87.5% out of 100 based on 1 reviews.

Soma – Chuao 70%

Reviews

Stuart Robson: 13-Mar-2011

Posted: March 13, 2011 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:
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Supplied by:

In the recent wave of Chuao releases there have been some disappointments set against some really beautiful examples. I had been told this bar from Canadian bean to bar producer Soma was among the best and as such it was with considerable anticipation that I opened the outer wrapper and took a first look at this, another Chuao.

The appearance is unusual for a Chuao, but again this may be more popular perception as a result of Amedei’s previous monopoly on the region than anything else. The colour is medium brown with no trace of the red hints sometimes found with Chuao and gives a generally light impression. The thin 25g bar is well finished overall with a nice shine, minimal swirling and the odd very small bubble.

The aroma really kicks things off:  as the packet is peeled back there is an exemplary display of the typical Chuao blueberry along with plum jam and some bitter almonds. The aromas calm down rather swiftly, pulling back to reveal some interesting and quite citric, winey suggestions with a grassy edge. Prior to the recent deluge of releases from many different producers this might have been considered an unusual nose for the region due the lovely hints of nuts and citrus, but now and with a growing number of different interpretations on offer, these can be considered fairly typical notes where a lighter roast is employed.

On the palette the initial attack is quite acidic with citrus tones that lean towards grapefruit before drifting back to lemon, a hint of the bitter almonds and some red currant. The flavours then slowly pull together into a near perfect blend of blueberry, lightly roasted dusty cacao and fresh figs on a background of soft citrus. This is perhaps the liveliest take on Chuao I have tasted and is really quite beautiful. The finish isn’t particularly long however and sees the arrival of some cedary tannins that, while they are not too aggressively drying, soon put pay to the rest of the flavours and leave the palette clean and neutral. The mouth feel is also rather good, particularly when considering the small scale operation at Soma, and while a little grainer than the very best shows a slow and even melt with only a hint of fudginess.

This is all that I was told it would be and yet I found it quite surprising. It would seem that even with so many examples of this region on the market now it can still be difficult to shake the old idea of what the Chuao flavour profile should be.  It has now been widely shown that beans from this area can display nuttiness, acidic citrus and many more notes alongside the more archetypal descriptors associated with Chuao. Soma has produced the definitive example of this with their interpretation; it shows some of the typical notes but with a much livelier exuberance and wider range than many others.  Fine work from a still little-known producer.

2 Comments

  1. Trackback: Soma Chuao 70% Dark Chocolate

  2. Niall May 13, 2013

    I pretty much agree with this description – a shame they can’t make more after that first batch, as the beans have not been available. It is a major shame that you were unable to get your hands on their Chuao 100%, of which I feel privileged to have been able to sample. In fact, a tasting of seven SOMA bars was a pure delight, ending with this Chuao 70%, the first iteration of their multi-origin Arcana 100%, then their very limited Chuao 100%.

    I described then the Arcana as a brass band each hitting the same note nice and loud, powerful, each sound discernable, but after a very enjoyable moment making your mouth shimmer from the vibrations, dies off with only a faint echo; fitting that it does not become overpowering. The Chuao 100%, on the other hand, was like a single trumpet hitting a single perfect note that.. never… wanted… to end… Half an hour later, either sitting silently in contemplation of the taste still changing, or talking with my tasting partner, the taste was still there.

    They have been trying fruitlessly to get more beans – they can only do the 100% with the fresh new beans. I am constantly checking. If they do make another, I will make sure that they contact you so that you do not miss out on this exquisite experience.

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