Some people believe in love at first sight, others believe in the seven year itch. Somewhere between the two exists the “falling out of love” stage. I feel I’m there with this Valrhona Guanaja 70%. Having stayed away from my favourite chocolate makers for a while I returned to the fold with what I hoped would be a wonderfully indulgent and flavoursome experience fitting with the origins of the cacao – alas I ended up feeling let down and contemplating the future of these feelings of unconditional love.
You see, Guanaja is a natural, unspoilt, rustic island with a personality all to itself. Whereas this bar is comes across more Tenerife to your Grenada: it’s perfectly palatable, but nothing out of this world. The texture if very good, but falls short of being magnificent as the flavours similarly mute, with a subtle orange characteristic. But as a Grands Crus, I really should be getting more.
There does seem to be some compromise even with the balance of Trinitario and Criollo but you certainly can’t detect that with the aroma which is rich, earthy and a healthy dose of acidity. What’s more, I can’t fault the finish as there are only the slightest imperfections as it exhibited a lovely shine and incredibly small crystals. There were hardly any bubbles or anything that would make me think that this wasn’t made my chocolate makers of some distinction.
As it melts I got a brief glimmer of pine wood and just the slightest hint of tobacco – but nothing really stood out. My tongue was left dry and with I no real inclination to try any more. OK, so there’s a hint of a spring floral garden about it, but there’s no Shakespearean drama, no twisting plots, no dramatic climax – it’s just like an episode of Coast – entertaining but ultimately not very memorable.
I had hoped for a thoroughbred full of flavour with interweaving dark and sweet notes, but I got nothing of the sort. It’s just a touch too unremarkable for my liking.