Chocolat Bonnat Venezuela Porcelana 75% 90.5/100

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Porcelana or white criollo (different from white nacional) grows south west of Lake Maracaibo in the Venezuelan region of Zulia and is considered to be one of the best varieties of cacao. Porcelana beans grow white rather than the purple and brown hues we traditionally associate with cacao beans due to the absence of the flavonoid anthocyanin, which is responsible for the purple colour. This absence of anthocyanin is responsible for the lack of bitterness in fine white criollo chocolate, which makes it highly desirable in terms of flavour. This lack of anthocyanin and Porcelana’s ancient heritage come at a cost however, with ancient white criollo strains being susceptible to pests and disease, thankfully Venezuela have never shyed away from growing vulnerable, low yielding, but flavourful cacao strains. With less than a 1000kg of this Porcelana produced Chocolat Bonnat are fortunate to add this bar to the resume.

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Having tried some bars of Porcelana before, I had some general expectations for this bar. Porcelana tends to be roasted light due to it being quite a delicate bean and has a generally shorter development time, which on top of its lack of anthocyanin makes this a particularly light style of chocolate. The Porcelana I’ve had, also tends to be very smooth in terms of mouthfeel, the smoothest I’ve ever come across, as well as having refinement and balance in bounds. With Chocolat Bonnat also being famous for their smooth chocolate I cant imagine how smooth this bar might be. In terms of flavour you can expect luscious soft red fruit flavours alongside some elegant chocolate notes. Opening this bar you’re hit by the elegant floral notes of the aroma and light raspberry vinegar. The texture of the chocolate is smooth, the mouthfeel of the chocolate is smooth, as per usual the Porcelana is smooth. To taste this is a fairly fruity and syrupy Porcelana, focussing on some developed strawberry and raspberry flavours that come through elegantly. This is a bar that is pleasant and light with some refined and honest flavours. If this were a wine it would be a good blush or rose, with all the flavours of a red but with the lightness and refinery of a white.

Ingredients: Cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Medium/light milky brown
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Bonnat Voiron centre with 6×5 fingers
Snap: Crisp, firm
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte sheen

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Elegant slightly floral cocoa, caramel, light raspberry vinegar
Quality: Fragrant, honest

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Syrupy, smooth
Quality: Full, refined

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Raspberry, strawberry
Quality: Lightly tart, rounded

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Fruity caramel, raspberry syrup
Quality: Lightly effervescent

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Raspberry, strawberry, cream, clementine, raisin, malt
Quality: Honest, complex

Length 8.5/10

Slow build begins to open up, flavours are rounded, but the round isn’t as long as it could be

Finish 9/10

Notes: Malt, berries, cocoa
Quality: A berry chocolate milkshake on the finish gives way to lingering light cocoa that stays a while in the background

Balance 9/10

All attributes marry up well and flavours are complementary, balance has a roundedness to it, medium but firm structure keeps everything tight

Overall 9/10

Chocolate has good depth and dimension, there is some complexity which remains balanced, structure is highly uniform and expression is true of a Porcelana

 

Chocolat Bonnat’s Tasting Notes: This extremely rare cocoa is grown at an ancestral plantation in Venezuela and has an annual harvest of less than 1000kg. The name of the cocoa originates from the porcelain white colour of its cocoa beans. This cocoa has a very balanced aroma and the complex flavours of the land of Lake Maracaibo, which will delight your palate. With its combination of strong fragrance and delicate flavours, this chocolate will captivate any lover of exception.

 

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