Valrhona – Ampamakia 2010
  • Our rating: 88.8% (3 reviews)
  • Company:
  • Cacao solids: 64%
  • Guide Price:
  • Description by: Stuart Robson
  • Production: Produced directly from beans by maker
  • Certification:
    • None
  • Ingredients:
    • Cocoa beans from Madagascar, Sugar, Cocoa butter, Vanilla and Soya Lecithin

On the island of Madagascar, the river Sambirano snakes its way through a magical landscape where delicate perfumes blend with the shimmering colours of the vanilla and ylang-ylang fields. For the people of this plantation where cocoa has been grown for more than 200 years, Ampamakia rings out like a chant of aromas and colour.

Valrhona – Ampamakia 2010—Chocolate Review Rating: 88.8% out of 100 based on 3 reviews.

Valrhona – Ampamakia 2010

The 2009 Ampamankia could have been seen as something of a hard act to follow, and while little improvement has been made in 2010, Valrhona has succeeded in losing very little of the charming character that made last year’s bar so enjoyable.

Arguably though, this doesn’t quite have the full magic of the previous years offering.

Reviews

Georg Bernardini: 6-Jan-2012

Posted: January 6, 2012 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:

Ampamakia was one of the first single plantation chocolate and Madagascar-chocolate I ever tasted. I was directly in love with cocoa from Madagascar and still today I have a weakness for Madagascar-chocolate. The typical fruity notes are always present and gives to the chocolate a fresh note without being too acid… if the chocolatier control the bean and the production of the chocolate.

The beans used for this chocolate comes from the Millot plantation. I had the chance to visit this plantation several times. The beans, a mixture of Trinitario and Criollo beans, are carefully treated and in contrast to other producers further washed.

The look is brown and lightly red due to the typical lightly red beans from Madagascar. The chocolate is therefore and due to the low cocoa mass content not dark as a usually dark chocolate. Due to the very professional equipment of Valrhona the look is almost perfect and the snap great.

The chocolate smells clean, fruity and with notes of spices.

The taste is Madagascar-like. Lime, mango, peach and spices, especially vanilla. But the vanilla-taste is not usually for Madagascar-cocoa. It comes from the added vanilla. The added vanilla is unnecessary, the cocoa has enough character and the added vanilla falsified a little bit the pure character of the cocoa. The roasting is not too strong to taste.

Due to the high cocoa butter content is the lenght not perfect.

The Ampamakia still satisfies the expectation to a Madagascar-chocolate, but Valrhona could make it better. The cocoa solid is in combination with the high cocoa butter content a little bit too low for a chocolate made with Madagascar beans. This makes the chocolate too sweet. They should reduce the cocoa butter, increase the cocoa mass and the cocoa solids up to 66-67%. The added vanilla disturbs the enjoyment of this still great chocolate a little bit. Valrhona should not add any vanilla to this chocolate.

In total is the Ampamakia still the incarnation of Madagascar cocoa for me and one of my favourite chocolates, but others chocolatiers treat the Madagascar-cocoa as well but with better recipes. Ampamakia is not any more the best Madagascar-chocolate in the world, but still one of the best.

Martin Christy: 28-Jan-2011

Posted: January 28, 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:
Source:
Supplied by:

Ampamakia has always been a personal favourite – the typical citrus notes of Madagascar always appealed to my palate. Added to Valrhona’s fruity acid style this makes, for example, Manjari almost always a winner.

Ampamakia takes this further, and for some years the result is pure lime cream bliss, with some criollo chocolate undertones. This was the case in the early vintages up to about Around 2006 and again in 2009. The latest crop doesn’t quite make it, dropping off towards the end, but is still at the top of the pack when it comes to Valrhona chocolate.

Ampamakia 2010 - unwrapped bar

Ampamakia 2010 - unwrapped bar

The look is light burgundy/brown. Not the lightest roast, but could easily be mistaken for a dark milk. The moulding of course up to Valrhona’s typical quality. (Helped by the soya lecithin and Valrhona’s super-sized production).

On the nose this is very clean, typically criollo with dusty cocoa, cream and hints of the lime intensity to come. Also typical is the low liquorice/dark fruits/light tobacco undertone that’s usually around in a Madagascar. Ampamakia does it better than most though.

Valrhona - Ampamakia 2010 close up

Ampamakia 2010 close up

The taste is a journey with lots of promise, rising lime and cream, mango, apricot, hints of cinnamon, deep chocolate. The acid is just a little overdone though, like a balsamic that will be better with a few more years maturing, which really comes out in the third act.

This leaves the length going into sugared grapefruit rather than sweet lime. Still good, but the 2009 was everlasting lime delight. Perhaps there’s just a little over-fermentation of the cacao this year. Finally, after 30 seconds, there’s devon cream left on the tongue.

There’s a lot of cocoa butter here, so the chocolate is verging on glutinous, and also there’s the ‘dust’ effect that seems to come with criollos, but on the whole the melt is warm and delivers an overall chocolate tone – with a hint of toast – very well.

I long for the 2009, but 2010 is still a pretty good substitute.

Stuart Robson: 28-Nov-2010

Posted: November 28, 2010 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:

I always look forward to Ampamakia, or at least I have done for the last few years, and we are off to a good start here with a lovely red-brown colour and a finish one would expect from the world’s leading fine chocolate producer.

The aroma is very much in line with last year’s vintage, all on Madagascar’s typical citrus notes, only while many other examples of the origin may offer sharp and slightly acidic interpretations here it is sweet and supple. Oranges and ripe limes backed by something herbal that is somewhat difficult to pin down, there is tobacco leaf here too but it serves only to add a base note to the citrus.

A fairly sweet delivery on the palette and in many ways a perfect representation of the nose, heaps of citrus, this time with lime at the fore but with the orange never far away. Mirroring the nose still further there are herbal touches with light tobacco adding a little depth to what is a quite straightforward yet highly enjoyable profile. The finish here is perhaps a little flat, certainly more so than I remember in last year’s vintage, but it takes little away from what is a wonderful, slightly sweet and straight ahead take on the origin.

Another good year for Ampamakia it seems. There is something so charming and lively about this bar and while it has little complexity to speak of, it more than makes up for this in playful exuberance.

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