Not being the linguistically aware I was struggling to work out the relationship of the word “Fortissima” on the front of this Pralus bar and the co-ordinates that they always inscribe below the country of origin. I did, however, locate 2° 18′ S, 76° 38’W as being on the border of Ecuador and Peru and established that it’s reportedly a blend of Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario – well that’s that the packaging says and we could be here all night arguing over bean variants and marketing ploys, and I’d rather enjoy the chocolate, or at least try to.
The word “fortissima” means “strong” in Italian, and that’s what this bar is supposed to offer. Although this bar is almost five months past it’s prescribed “best” so I expect some of that strength to have diminished somewhat. But, unlike the Vosges Black Pearl bar it still looks resplendent. I know Duffy and many others love slight bars, but I love the thickness of Pralus’s bars, for me these just feel most substantial and robust.
If anybody was ever looking for an example of a bar of dark chocolate which had a rich, red fruit aroma it has to be this one. It’s like being surrounded swimming in the juiced from a summer pudding. But from this point onwards it goes wrong. The thought comes to mind of a restaurant having an elegant façade – surrounded by wonderfully fragrant flowers and when you step inside all you get is steak and chips, chicken and chips and, if you’re lucky, scampi in chips. The flavour is bland, unremarkable and doesn’t appear that it was produced by adroit chocolate makers by any stretch of the imagination.
The only acidity you’re witness is on the very tip of your tongue but it’s far from being supported by any round, deep flavours – it’s just dangling on the end, and that’s it. As the chocolate melts you might be fortunate to pick up on a slight hazelnut flavour, but even that’s far from engaging.
Perhaps it’s my fault for having this bar a few months past its “best”, but I’d still expect it to have more flavour than this.