Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Venezuela Porcelana 71% 96.5/100

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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 though Venezuela has never shyed away from growing vulnerable, low yielding, but flavourful cacao strains. With less than a 1000kg of this Porcelana produced every year, this bar is not always in stock, but when they can get hold of the beans husband and wife team Zsolt Szabad and Katalin Csiszar help to turn them into one of their intricate tile moulded chocolate bars.

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I’ve tried a few bars made from Porcelana cacao and my impressions used to be that there was some soft red fruit with so intense and rich cocoa notes, but more recently I’ve been adjusting to expect a lighter tone and some more delicate and elegant notes, especially where the roast is light. Opening the bar I can see the light colour of the bar and this has me inclined to expect the latter. To taste this bar isn’t overtly flavourful, it’s no assault on the senses, it’s only in the paying attention that great flavour comes. This bar is light, delicate and airy with a subtle complexity akin to a classical music composition. Its aroma suggests something heavier and more punchy, but upon tasting, the acidity is rounded and light and lifts up a collection of pink flavours that dance in and out over the course of the round. The nature of the bar remains consistent, but individual idiosyncrasies are difficult to pin down, what is clear though is that there is a level of delicate refinery here, both in terms of the cacao and in terms of the processing that has a really unique expression. This isn’t a bar that shouts about how good it is, instead it’s a simplistic and humble masterpiece whose depth must be unravelled. It’s important with this bar that you sit down and take your time with it and give it your full attention, otherwise you might just miss what makes this bar really special.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter

Appearance 10/10

Colour: Lighter brown, light purpling
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé intricate flower mould
Snap: Very crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy consistent shine

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Rose wine, balsamic, strawberries, milk
Quality: Acidic, bright

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long, firm, slow
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Smooth, jelly
Quality: Elegant, but firm

Acidity 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Strawberry, raspberry
Quality: Rounded, light, complementary

Sweetness 10/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Ripe fruit, sweet wine
Quality: Well developed, uplifting, naturally complex

Flavour 10/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Smooth cocoa, light strawberry, pink champagne, Turkish delight, raspberry, light vanilla sponge
Quality: Delicate, subtly complex, dimensioned, refined

Length 9.5/10

Flavours are long, but they’re soft and delicate, dancing or floating around, they’re somewhat complex and fleeting making it difficult to feel how they round. Length feels unique

Finish 9.5/10

Notes: Physalis, strawberry jam, vanilla sponge, light smooth cocoa
Quality: There is a touch of physalis like acidity on the end before lingering strawberry jam and vanilla sponge takeover, there’s this light smooth cocoa floating around in there too

Balance 9.5/10

It’s hard to see where the balance is, the bar isn’t overtly balanced more so developed, refined and dimensioned that it has to be balanced? Complexity confuses the balance equation but not a note is out of step. Structure is light leaving little in the way of an anchor for the flavour

Overall 10/10

Bar is particularly well developed and unique, while not deep in the conventional sense, with it not being bold or heavy bar has tremendous depth and dimension, with a marriage of complexity and balance, structure is uniformly loose and expression is honest and unique


Tasting Notes:

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