Formerly the exclusive purchasing right of Amedei, Chuao has been open to other bean to bar producers for a while now. While Domori’s Chuao is grown at Hacienda San Jose, this bar is from the Chuao growing region on the northern coast of Venezeula, part of the Parque Nacional Henri Pittier. This cacao comes with a reputation for having won a glutton of awards and so bar makers run a risk with these beans of not living up to their reputation. This has to be the most accessible Chuao available to consumers with it having been sold on the UK high street and so it’s nice to taste a bar that scores within .5 of Domori’s offering.
My expectations for this bar were based upon my experiences with both Amedei’s Chuao and Domori’s Chuao. The former being a complex and smooth combination of purple fruit and refined chocolate notes, while the latter for me was more of a smooth and refined display of caramel, nuts and chocolate flavours. I had to assume that this would me more akin to Amedei’s Chuao, but I didn’t find this to be the case. To taste I found the bar to be closer to Domori’s with some similarities to the style of bar I’ve tasted from Hotel Chocolat’s St Lucia varieties. This bar was rich and distinctive, creamy, with a combination of sweet and nut notes overlapping each other. It reminded me somewhat of some Porcelanas I’ve tried rather than Chuao with its raisin notes. Overall this bar had great flavour made from great beans, but some of the production lacked a little refinement.
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, emulsifier (soya lecithin)
Colour: Dark brown
Texture: Smooth wood bark
Mould: Hotel Chocolat Rabot 1745 tablet mould
Temp/Shine: Glossy, very consistent
Notes: Rich chocolate, violets, vanilla, oak
Quality: Rich, fragrant
Length: Soft med/long
Evenness: Melt is even, texture suffers from cacao grain
Texture: Malleable, juicy, grainy
Quality: Texturally pleasurable, but more consistent with bars with nibs as inclusions than smooth bars
Quality: Honest, uplifting, rounded
Notes: Honey, milky caramel
Quality: Well developed, rounded
Notes: Golden raisin, tobacco, honey, cinnamon, vanilla
Quality: Distinctive, subtly complex
Flavours last long in the round, most prominent in the middle, stays on after the finish
Notes: Milky chocolate raisin
Quality: Notes fade slowly leaving refined chocolate notes and cinnamon in the mouth, pleasurable
Attributes are complementary and bar works well as a whole, medium strong structure
Bar is well developed, flavours are well expressed and bar feels honest, consistent with depth and dimension, but lacks refinement
Hotel Chocolat’s Tasting Notes: Prima Donna with talent. She’s good and she knows it – an interplay of cream and caramel with malt and raisins, roast nuts and plenty of elegant poise.