Thankfully I’ve been over the backstory for Chuao countless times – especially as when I normally research bars and type up the introduction to the reviews I would have usually consumed the 25g that you only get with this Domori ‘Chuao’ bar. Restraining myself is so difficult when it comes to Venezuelan chocolate is so difficult, but needs must, but I did need spend the £4.95 from the Chocolate Trading Co, to realise, perhaps I shouldn’t have.
Countless bars now claim to have access to these beans, how many actually are from the village is anyone’s guess. But what I find astonishing is that the cacao source for this bar isn’t actually the aforementioned village, but is actually (as far as I can gather) Hacienda San Jose where they also produce the Domori Porcelana. Perhaps to be called Chuao these days the beans don’t have to be grown there, just the trees the beans have come from are related to ones that once grew there (if you get what I mean)? To me that’s like saying that I’m genetically related to the king of Ireland a thousand years ago (which I am) and therefore I have rights to a castle and land there. It’s just not the same. It’s playing on the fact that Chuao has/had a degree of kudos when Amedei had exclusive rights to their cacao, now for me at least, the name Chuao is as about as abused as it ever can be. Have Chuao sold out? Are the makers to blame? Do you care? At least Domori do state “Haceienda San José” on the front, and anyone that knows about fine chocolate should have alarm bells ringing in their head.
On to the bar itself. Unlike the Idilio Origins Finca Torres this bar has an aroma that seems to me to be a molecular copy of vinegar, only more muted. The melt is lengthy and punctuated by the odd wisp of flavour akin to a solar flare. The problem is that there’s not a huge amount going on there. There’s a whole heap of caramel and liquorice but insufficient to put anywhere even in the realms of the other Chuao bars I’ve reviewed. There is only the slightest acidity at the tip of my tongue – but nothing more.
This bar seems to be more suited to milk chocolate lovers than those that adore the bitterness of something like the Mast Brothers Black Truffle and if you are going to introduce someone to dark chocolate then this would be a good one to start with, not only because its relatively mild, but also because you can start a discussion about the differing types of beans, the role of terroir and common misconceptions in the chocolate industry.
You can buy this bar via Amazon.