The blogosphere and the chocolate world when it was announced that Amedei were to be usurped from the mantel of having sole rights to producing chocolate from the village of Chuao in Venezuela. Now Amano have produced a bar from where Amedei say “where the history of the world’s finest cocoa is planted”. And the bar I review here is made with that same cocoa. But how does it compare to the Amedei Chuao?
Amedei might have spent a lot of time and money to get access to the village’s cocoa, but Amano it would appear have now earned their place at the top table of chocolatiers. And having tried the Amano Ocumare 70%, their position is well deserved. So how does this little block of “gold”-encased delight turn out?
Well the appearance is just as fantastic as their other bars in the range. It looks exclusive, fine and delightful. The golden wrapping inside adds to the level of anticipation. It is tightly wrapped and given as much attention to detail and love, it would appear, as the chocolate itself. Top marks here.
The aroma is intensely bitter with a burnt would and molasses complexion with slight tobacco notes. This aromatic experience is far more comprehensive than any other dark chocolate around the 70% level I’ve tried for a good while. It’s very intoxicating indeed.
It’s the snap that really does continue with heightening the levels of satisfaction. It’s clean, precise and crisp. There may be some deficiencies in the texture with quite a few small bubbles which might mean that the liquid chocolate was too cool whilst setting, the viscosity was too high or it wasn’t agitated enough. But seeing as there was no emulsifier used, it’s understandable that there are a few bubbles as I’m sure the likelihood of bubbles would increase without emulsifier (nes pas?).
The texture was also a lot drier and crumbly than I would have expected. Now I’m not sure if the heat on the “tube” whilst I traversed London caused this, but it was more granular than anticipated. The strange thing was that it still felt ‘dusty’ on the teeth, but worked well with the saliva which held it all together.
Whatever the cause of the texture, it didn’t distract from the experience for me, and I’m sure it wouldn’t for anyone else either. The important factor is of course how it tastes. As was hinted by the aroma, this chocolate is intense beyond the ratio of cocoa used. There are definite fruit flavours which were knitted together at the lower level of the taste range by an acidic, alcoholic top range. It sort of reminded me of summer’s picnic in a hay field eating dark red/blue fruit – there’s a sort of aridness to it but balanced with a cutting plum taste.
For me this bar is a “grower”. It’s just personal taste, and slap me if you wish, but I did actually prefer the Ocumare. I’d be interested to know what the conching times were when comparing the two, as I think the acidity of the bar would be toned down with another 15 or 20 hours longer in the conch. We can’t expect all bars to have a mellow edge, but I feel the fruitiness would come through even more and add a bit more of a balance to the experience.
The important question is: Do I prefer this bar or the Ocumare? The answer is they’re a different type of bar. The Ocumare is meant to be lighter – it’s the day. Whilst this bar is meant to be darker, sharper and full-bodied. It’s the dusk. And how does it compare to the Amedei? That’s a difficult question as I don’t have them side by side. But from recolection, this bar is more intense and less smooth. But if that is a good thing or a bad is dependent on your tastes.