Pralus Chuao 75% 83.5/100

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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. Francois Pralus, however has a long standing reputation in cacao production, having made single origin bars since the early 2000’s at their factory in Roanne.

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I’ve tried bars by Pralus before and I’ve enjoyed them, experiencing their preference for a darker roast, but this has to be the darkest roast from Pralus, which I’ve yet to try. It feels like this bar has been created to a roast preference, a roast focussed around being dark and long, rather than a roast based around the individual development of the beans. Different roasts have different qualities and a dark roast isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in this case I feel like the roast seeks to submit the Chuao beans rather than develop them into an honest expression of terroir, what is gained here by the dark roast could have been gained using any chocolate, but what is lost here in the roast is available only from Chuao. The bar still scores relatively highly because quality beans and good processing have created some worthy attributes, the aroma, the texture and the length are all strong in this bar and if you like dark bitter flavours this might be the bar for you, for me though it’s just a shame there isn’t a more honest expression of terroir. Long flavours of dark roasted coffee and roasted pumpkin seeds are tempered by a dry white grape acidity, before a hint of lemon on the finish.

Ingredients: Cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter, GMO-free soya lecithin

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker earthy brown
Texture: Smooth with grain, polished sandstone
Mould: Pralus slab and cube design
Snap: Crisp heavy
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen, consistent

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Intense refined cocoa, dark black forest syrup, pomegranate molasses
Quality: Refined, rich

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Syrup, slippery
Quality: Consistent

Acidity 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 2
Notes: Dry white grape
Quality: Balances bitterness

Sweetness 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 6
Notes: Light coloured caramel, light toffee
Quality: Sweetness dominated by bitterness

Flavour 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Bitter, Sweet
Notes: Dark roast coffee, charcoal, roasted pumpkin seeds and nuts, white grape
Quality: Complementary, refined, very dark roast

Length 9/10

Flavours are long and consistent and round well.

Finish 8/10

Notes: Bitter roast, lemon
Quality: Finish is fairly clean leaving faint cocoa notes

Balance 8.5/10

All attributes balance well, but are dominated into submission by the roast, robust structure is consistent

Overall 8/10

Bar is developed and has refined qualities, with a depth of flavour, but expression and dimension are dominated by the roast


Tasting Notes: West of Caracas, Venezuela, there is a mythical village. Accessible only by boat, the village of Chuao is bordered North by dense tropical forests, in the south by the Caribbean Sea. For generations the cocoa grown in this region has been celebrated for its exceptional qualities. A unique terroir, an ancestral know-how, a traditional drying method makes this Criollo cocoa the most wanted worldwide. The tiny production makes this a rare product that we are proud to present to you. This chocolate is long on the palate with a fine balance of bitter and acidity with earthy tones. 

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