I purchased a few dark chocolate bars from Pierre Hermé a couple of months ago as part of a big “let’s get loads of French chocolate” campaign. It’s been a success, however my credit card bill was a shocker! But it was well worth it as I absolutely loved his Signature and Classic Assortment Box, but now it’s time to try one of his fine dark chocolate bars. The first out of my stash shelf was his Méditation Pure Original Chuao and I thought it’d be nice to compare this Chuao to the Amano Chuao which I thought was very good, just not great and the Amedei Chuao which was luscious.
Even though his assortment box looked great, I wasn’t too convinced by the packaging of this bar. It’s not as bad as the Demarquette bars, but at least this one had a feel of solidness and would actually looked great on the shelf next to the other bars in the range. I do prefer, however, the styling of the Zotter and Artisan du Chocolat bars.
When it comes to the appearance of the bar itself, it looks exceptionally shiny and inviting. I don’t recall seeing a dark chocolate bar with such a gloss as this. Now it’s no guarantee of quality as I’ve tried a good number of very good dark chocolate bars with a matt finish such as the Go*Do, it just depends on what you’re after, although I could almost shave using it as a mirror.
As I broke a piece off there seemed to be an almost perfect ‘chocolate’ aroma. There was no acidity or fruitiness to it; it just seemed clear-cut, unadulterated, rich chocolate. Bliss. I also noticed a fantastic snap and on further inspection I saw it had exceptionally fine chocolate crystals which were almost unrecognisable. Actually as you snap a square in two with your teeth the sound is almost deafening.
But it’s the flavour that is almost tear inducing. It’s rich in that it reminds me of strong, milky hot chocolate, but that’s doing it a disservice. It just seems that every bite gives a different flavour. It appeared that every square does start off with a sort or marmite flavour, but nowhere near as strong. But then you’ll get fruity flavours which a strong sense of mango and then jam. It seemed that other squares had more of an acidic, slightly salty character – but not at all off-putting.
It also seems that the mangoiness of the chocolate lasts incredibly long as the melt takes ages to disperse the chocolate. It does feel a bit crumbly as you break it up with your teeth but that earthy-fruitiness hangs around in your for an eternity purely because the texture is so compact.
Another thing I noticed was that it actually fairly sweet. After trying to get myself away from the bar for a few minutes as I keep coming back to it like a true chocolate addict I noticed that that sweetness does build upon itself. The secret would be just to have a block every three or four minutes as the chocolate flavours do last for a good while. It’s not like cheap chocolate where the flavours die once the chocolate has melted away. Here the quality shows through in every facet of the bar.
I just loved its shine, its aroma, its texture and its chameleon like flavour that lasts incredibly long. Almost the perfect bar – although if it is as good as the Chapon 75% Cuba is difficult to tell as I’ve given the rest of it away. On reflection, and a lot of thought, I think it comes up just short – just.