Exclusivity is what makes brands special. Recently Abercrombie & Fitch reportedly paid Michael Sorrentino money not to wear their clothes. The point being that they didn’t want their image tarnished. It’s a fine line that these exclusive brands take and one that I’ve mulled over as I walked into the YSL discount store in Bicester. If people like me can afford to wear those clothes then I don’t want to be seen wearing them. It’s a perverse logic, but one that Amedei must have been concerned about when Pralus, Amano and now, Hotel Chocolat have managed to get their mitts on some of that elusive origin of cacao. If Hotel Chocolate, who are seemingly on every high street can offer Chuao, then what it does it say about them?
That’s not to take anything away from Hotel Chocolat, I love what they’ve done for chocolate in this country, but there’s something reassuring about a pecking order. It breeds security. On the flipside it breeds contempt for those wishing to offer their customers a better, more complete offering.
The aroma of this version is simply beautiful. It’s a second generation tobacconist selling the most fragrant of pipe tobacco. As it comes closer to your mouth the sent becomes more acidic, orangeier, more, well more like ‘artisan’ chocolate.
The flavour is mellower however. It’s more croissant and butter on a Sunday morning. Maybe there’s some hazelnut, perhaps even some Nutella about it? But there is that harsh, zesty quality always lurking in the background like a shadowy figure in the undergrowth.
From my recollection Chuao does taste different, even the six variations from Soma, Mast Brothers, Amano, Pierre Hermé, Pralus and Amedei tasted fairly close together. This one, however, tasted a touch further away from the luxurious feel I had expected.