Ara Chocolat Madagascar 75% 90/100


Located in the north west of Madagascar, the Sambirano Valley is responsible for producing some of the fruitiest chocolate that you’re likely to taste and with this bar being made from trinitario beans, which are also fruity in nature, it has the potential to be indicative of Madagascar’s notoriously fruity terroir. Hailing originally from Venezuela, Ara Chocolat now take up residence in Paris, where husband and wife team Andres and Sabrina help to turn cacao beans into their sets of mini chocolate bars. Bringing with them a wealth of fine dining experience and a stint with Chocolates Franceschi in Venezuela they’re well prepared to make small batch bean to bar chocolate, while putting their own individual stamp on it. Ara’s philosophy revolves around Andres and Sabrina’s commitment to the environment and their desire to use cacao that is grown in harmony with the local ecosystem, furthermore they’re vegan, encouraging a simple approach to cacao production in which only cacao products and cane sugar are used.


Madagascan cacao is notoriously fruity, something about the terroir imparts high flavourful acidity and for me I’ve come to associate Madagascar with big red berry flavours. With that said the Ara Chocolat bars I’ve tried so far, have leaned more towards refinement than they have towards high acidity. I still had expectations that this bar would have big berry fruit flavours and that it would be much more acidic than say their Trincheras, but I was curious to see if Ara’s processing would produce any unique qualities in their bar. Upon opening the bar, it had a familiar aroma of red berries, but mixed with a more refined cocoa and roast, that I wouldn’t have generally expected from a Madagascan cacao. To taste it opened with raisin notes before the bar moved onto bright rounded red berry flavours and a milky sweetness that helped to balance out the acidity offering a more tempered overall flavour. What stands out about this bar is the way the rounded acidity has been refined and the way the roast delivers the flavours with balance, if you’re looking for a Madagascan bar with a little more finesse, then this might be it.

Ingredients: Cacao, cane sugar, cacao butter

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker brown
Texture: Smooth, clean
Mould: Ara small 12 square blocks
Snap: Crisp thud
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Intense chocolate and roast, berries, malt, tobacco, sour cherries
Quality: Refined

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Hard, long
Evenness: Fairly even and consistent
Texture: Malted milk, buttery
Quality: Enjoyably balances acidity

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Raisin, red berries, sour cherries
Quality: Bright, rounded, tart

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Milk sugar, ripe berries
Quality: Honest, complementary

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Type: Sweet
Notes: Raisin, malt, red berries, sour cherries
Quality: Distinctive

Length 9/10

Flavours float in and out, not intensely but often for distinct periods, flowing smoothly over each other

Finish 9/10

Notes: Malt, red berries, cocoa
Quality: Hints of malt and red berries before a clean finish, leaving only lingering light cocoa

Balance 9.5/10

Flavours complement each other and bar has a distinct harmony between its flavours and attributes, often changing yet remaining balanced. Consistent medium structure

Overall 9/10

Bar balances lots of flavours and attitudes with finesse, has increasing dimension and expresses itself with originality

Ara Chocolat’s Tasting Notes:




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