Valrhona Ampamakia 2010 64%

It’s been almost six months since I last reviewed some Valrhona chocolate, which is strange as I’ve traditionally been very fond of what they produce. So I’m re-starting my love affair with the French chocolate makers with this Ampamakia bar is uses cocoa from the Sambirano Valley which has been responsible for so many fine bars of chocolate. The cacao is grown at Plantation Millot which is the North West of the Island, just north of the town of Ambanja and situated a short distance from the river of Sambriano.

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The strange aspect of this bar is that it only has 64% cocoa solids but has a relatively sharp aroma which is very acidic and reminiscent of so many other bars from the region. I’m sure it would lead many people trying this bar to expect the flavour to be similarly acute, however, it’s actually more of a “pudding” chocolate than any other fairly dark bars of their I can recall.

Often Madagascan chocolate is renowned for offering a red fruit kind of flavour, but this one is much mellower – probably because of the lower cocoa content. Here it definitely is reminiscent of mango and soft Caribbean fruits, and that’s what I love about it. But it also has a sweet molasses flavour which I find intriguing whilst there’s also some Key Lime pie tone to the experience too.

The colour of the bar is also much lighter than their other bars, which is also due to the relatively low amount of cocoa solids used. This aspect I find to be visually perfect. Despite being stored in the same conditions of as my other bars and being in that environment a similar length of time I’ve found no degradation in the physical make-up of the bar despite being 6 months past its best. It looks as fresh as the day it left the factory.

There’s also been no effect on the texture of the chocolate, well as far as I can tell anyway. Even though it’s got fairly high level of cocoa butter, the melt is less quick than I thought it was going to be. You can definitely pick out the fats aspect of the chocolate and those that like creamier, but not overly sweet bar would probably appreciate this more than many bars of the same level of cocoa solids.

Lee McCoy

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