‘Chuao’ – a word that makes most chocolate lovers go weak at the knees actually doesn’t always meet the hype afforded to it. Similarly, often the chocolate world goes crazy for a chocolate brand just as the Twittershere lushes over gossip and intrigue. Put the two together and you should really witness some chocolate with depth and variety of flavour to match the pedigree and hype. Even though I found the Pralus Chuao a more enjoyable version, this one from Soma is still damn fine – and I have Judith to thank for introducing me it.
It’s always nice to see chocolate makers take risks with their packaging, some are conventional, some more elegant, some just plain beautiful and some, like Soma, take a chance and try something unique. So what that this bar looks like it’s the better-looking twin brother of some Space Food? If every bar of chocolate was presented in the same way, my hobby of reviewing chocolate would become very boring very quickly.
The cacao with this bar, comes from Venezuela and the village of Chuao, was made in Canada and finds its way into the somewhat less glamorous environ of Warrington. The thing is, you could be transported anywhere if you’re lucky enough to have some of this chocolate. Each bite seems to have the affect like when films to that weird affect when the scene goes back in time – you just lose some grounding in reality and transported elsewhere. Perhaps it even has a psuedo-psychedelic quality?
The mould use to make this bar is less unusual, being crisp, angular and quite masculine, whilst the aroma had a warm salty, but yet quite figgy character – perhaps much like the Moroccan seafront? The flavour carried this sense through too where there’s a sharp acidity on the tip of your tongue supported by a fellow mellow caramel tone and an over-riding dark, fruit personality. It seems that this acidity and sweet fruitiness are both thrusting forward at the same time, with equal force – much like a forked tongue. But there doesn’t seem to any complimentary flavours, just a battle ground in your mouth for attention which can be a touch confusing – or adventurous, depending on if your glass is half empty, or half full.
After more bites you may notice as your teeth crunch through the release of an Amaretto-type flavour which is then followed by under-ripe gooseberry and then part way through you may also get walnut. This all goes into making it a truly fascinating chocolate experience. The Pralus, perhaps, was much less “interesting”, but I think the flavours there intertwined with a much greater degree of cohesion. Here it seemed more of a jazz jamming sessions with flavours and notes working in disunity – crashing and banging as the chocolate melted.