I can’t believe this Pierre Hermé 70% Porcelana has languished at the bottom of my chocolate collection since I bought it last summer. And I was kicking myself for not trying it sooner because the ‘Porcelana’ name goes before it. Of course it’s still open to debate if Porcelana gives the best dark chocolate or whether its Criollo from Chuao – I’d say there’s far too many variables to categorically say one way or another. But what I can say is that is this particular example is was far from being delightful, and nowhere near as good as the Pralus Chuao nor even his own Chuao.
Visually the chocolate has been very slightly impaired by the cold winter months – even though I tried to keep the chocolate room at a constant temperature. But this hadn’t caused any noticeable difference in the texture of the bar – for that offered a truly wonderful snap: crisp, clear and just perfect. The distraction was, of course, the quality of the final stages where the chocolate wasn’t actually vibrated enough to fill every crevice of the mould – not good.
The aroma was sweet, but with only slightest hint of balsamic vinegar, but nothing as ‘punchy’ as I had expected – more of a fruit salad affair, whilst the flavour took some serious chewing to bring it to the fore. This was too much effort form liking. Despite the bar actually being of Valrhona stock (according to Everjean), it’s far from being Valrhona quality.
There may be hazelnut and mango flavours present, but they’re just too subtle, too ‘early morning cup of tea’, and ‘cheap Asda/Walmat cookies’, to be anywhere near my top 50 dark chocolate bars of all time. It may be a great bar to have with Champagne and strawberries sitting on the banks of the Thames watching the Henley Regatta; but for a robust experience it falls a million miles short.
Mild and inoffensive it may be, but life is too short to spend time eating chocolate that has limited flavour.