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 it makes every Porcelana bar made a rarity and none are probably more famous than Amedei’s offering.
I’ve eaten this bar before, so I know what to expect with this chocolate. In fact this is the third time I’ve tried this bar, the first time was a bit lost on me, but the second time I became aware of why this bar was so good. The quality of cacao and the processing produced a bar that was of high quality in a lot of areas. There was purple fruit and highly refined cocoa notes, along with a super smooth mouthfeel and great presentations in length and finish. I had no reason but to expect the same all over again.
The bar is a little darker than I would expect from a Porcelana and darker than I remember it being the last time I tried it, but everything else seems familiar. The smooth and aromatic cacao that I remember is there with its deep, rich and complex aroma, the mouthfeel is a little different from my memory, but it’s just as smooth as it ever was, although smooth doesn’t really justify quite how smooth this chocolate is. Moving past the amazing mouthfeel the complex and honest flavours begin, providing big cocoa and chocolate cake notes (which do remind me of bourbon biscuits) mixed with slowly rising mixed red berries, with background fragrant pine nuts and touch of cream. There are other bars that contain these flavours, but it’s not quite the same, these flavours feel honest and characterful and are what distinguishes this bar against others, matched up with its long length, clean finish and the balance produced from the delicate cocoa and production techniques, it produces a bar that is both well developed and well produced. This is the kind of chocolate bar that happens when a great cacao meets a great chocolatier, this is a lesson in perfecting craft while using incredible ingredients.
Ingredients: cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla
Colour: Darker brown, light purpling
Texture: Very smooth, light flake
Mould: Amedei print 5×2 mould
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte
Notes: Intense rich cocoa, roasted nuts, pine nuts, balsamic, cherry, light red berries, plum, tobacco
Quality: Refined, aged, rich, complex
Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Very smooth, light fudgey brownie texture
Quality: Highly refined, full, deep
Notes: Red berry
Quality: Uplifting, rounded
Notes: Ripe fruit, chocolate buttercream
Quality: Developed, complementary
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Cocoa, baked chocolate cake, red berries, raspberry, strawberry, pine nuts, cream
Quality: Honest, distinctive, deep
Flavours are bold, long and round excellently
Notes: Cocoa, red berry, cream
Quality: A red berry sweetness fills the end, before a fairly clean finish ends on cocoa and cream
Bar is distinctively flavourful with a lot of cocoa, but in terms of acidity, sweetness and flavour they marry up well, length and mouthfeel aid the bar towards refined balance
Bar has large depth and dimension, is complex, but balanced, structure is uniform and expression is honest, distinctive and characterful
Tasting Notes: It is a type of cocoa which goes far beyond the idea of chocolate as the world market usually thinks of it: it is an intense chocolate of extraordinary strength but at the same time with a tantalising delicacy, and with an acidity which imparts freshness, leaving the mouth completely clean and immediately wanting to try some more. It has a decisive flavour of toasted almonds which alternates with the pressed olives. A unique experience, a flavour long and persistent.