One of my most favourite chocolate makers all time is Pralus – despite having lost their way with recent incarnations of their Chuao bar. It would be interesting, therefore, to see what they can offer in the way of 100% chocolate bars given that they do well with other obscure styles.
Pralus produce much thicker bars than most other chocolate makers, even though most that I have talked to actually prefer much thinner moulds. For some reason I actually prefer more substantial chunks, but for the milder types of chocolate a thick piece has its advantages, for 100% dark chocolate, however, I’d suggest that you be more conservative in how much you break off.
View Larger Map
For those of you who view the provenance of the chocolate you buy as important you might like to know that the Criollo cacao grown to make this bar was grown on the island of Nosey Be which nestles along the coast of the much larger island of Madagascar, although the source cacao trees actually came from São Tomé having previously been grown in Brazil and Venezuela.
To me there is no other way to enjoy 100% dark chocolate that to let it rest and melt at the side of the mouth and just let the bitterness pass over the taste buds. Chewing would unleash too much flavour too soon and it would be come unpalatable. If you do have the patience, however, you will be rewarded with a stupefying collection of flavours. I got hits of marmite, blackcurrant jam, beef and brandy. It still has a central core flavour that doesn’t deviate as some other chocolate bars do. Instead this one concentrates on a direct, unwavering, bitter flavour – just until the end when it transforms into an enduring nicotine characteristic.
The lack of added sugar isn’t noticeable. It didn’t even come into my head that there was none. My focus, instead, was just placed upon the utterly sensational interwoven flavours.
The physical structure of the bar is almost perfect too. The crystals are small and tightly packed, and it’s only marred slightly by the odd air bubble. The top of the bar had a “blob” of chocolate covering Pralus’ logo which really shouldn’t have been there. It was, however, sublime in terms of flavour and the odd imperfection is meaningless outside of a judging environment.
But what of the fact that this bar is made with some an unspecified lineage of Criollo cacao bean? I would have loved to have specifics, just for my own interest, but for the vast majority of people, that is incidental to the supreme nature of this Pralus 100% bar.