Michel Cluizel 1er Cru de Plantation “Mangaro”

This is the first bar of Michel Cluizel bar that I’ve reviewed since 2009 and the general 72% bar, although I did try the very playful Les Poissons which was interesting. But now it’s time for a “serious” bar.

The first thing you’ll notice with this bar is the very light colour of the chocolate compared to other dark bars at this cacao level and I’d even go far as saying it has a perfect complexion. It looks warm and inviting with a small embossed cacao pod on each square and comes over as understated and self-confident which belies the true character of this bar.

Cacao from Madagascar is known to offer citrus and woody notes and this is exactly what this bar gives. At first I thought this bar was named after the Mangoro which winds its way from the central region to the east coast. However, reading the packaging it indicted that it comes from the sides of the valley which holds the Sambirano River and from a plantation that used to grow mangos. I actually picked up a slight mango edge before I knew where the plantation was, and whether there’s anything left in the soil that would affect this is anyone’s guess.

There’s nothing from any research of the local geography that I can find which would explain the citrus character, but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. The aroma is classically acidic with a slight urine tone, but don’t let that put you off as its leaning towards the pine-wood end of the scale. For me this is what I love chocolate for – the curious nature of aroma of chocolate and how it’s very often distinctive to the different bars of the same origin.

I often prefer chocolate to be dark and broody, intense and tragic. But this bar light and fruity with a strong resemblance to marmalade on fried bread with a slight edge of mango. There’s a sweetness there underlined by a strange buttery tone that truly is magical. But I’d say this is definitely more of a summer bar of dark chocolate and not so much suited to cold winter nights. That is unless you want to be reminded of the long summer nights?

I’d certainly say this is a bar that would suit a dinner party where you don’t want to serve overindulgent truffles or ganaches but want to offer a talking point that may surprise many of your guests. It is full of character but it can become a bit “too much” after three or four blocks. That citrus sweetness does build on itself with every bite which ensures that this bar isn’t a “session” bar by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Taste: 75% – it started off as fantastic, but I like bars that I can manage to finish the bar off without feeling sickly. This isn’t that kind of bar.
  • Texture: 87% – the texture was fantastic, very smooth and offered a great mouth-feel
  • Appearance: 75% – I found the packaging offered too much information with too much going on on the front, although the actual appearance of the bar itself was fantastic.
  • Nutritional Information: 80% – a great deal of information, although the writing is too small
  • Price: 85% – for less than £4 you do get yourself a very interesting bar, which I do say is very good value for money
  • Overall: 80.4% – well worth trying out. But don’t buy it if you prefer dark, acidic bars


Lee McCoy

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