The original producer of Chuao and formerly the exclusive purchasing right of Amedei, Chuao is now open to many other bean to bar producers. 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. Chuao these days is best described as both a variety and a village with some pods having left the village to be produced elsewhere in Venezuela. This particular bar being made from cacao that comes from Chuao Village itself. This cacao comes with a reputation for having won a glutton of awards, awards won mostly by Amedei and so this bar has a lot to live up to in terms of the quality of its stewardship.
Bars from Chuao tend to have some purple fruit mixed with some intense and refined cocoa and on occasion some background notes of nuts and liquorice, although over the years the flavours have been changing a little. It’s always interesting scoring a bar you’ve tasted before, seeing how it matches up to your memories and how it compares to what you remember having tried before. This bar is good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve had the fortune of having tried this bar twice before, so my expectations aren’t exactly neutral here. The first time I tried this bar I remember it being really good, but that was a long time ago and I didn’t write anything down. The second time I tried it, I appreciated it even more, not only was it really great, but I understood better why it was great. In retrospect I suspect this was the best of the three Chuao bars from Amedei that I’ve tried. This version however was somewhat lacking, there was less acidity and further to that, less in the way of balance, flavours were still refined but seemed less honest, less complex and less characterful. This bar was still of a really high standard though, but at the same time it had already set in place some really high standards with previous bars and I can’t help but feel that this time it fell short of those. What it does have though is a rich aroma, complex and refined flavours that start as nutty and refined cocoa tones, but develop into something more fruity with plenty of enjoyable qualities in terms of the length and mouthfeel. If you haven’t tried this bar you absolutely have to, if only to learn something more about chocolate and what the importance of a bar like Chuao is in terms of cacao production, but if you’ve tried this bar before then you might just have enjoyed it at its peak.
Ingredients: cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla
Colour: Darker brown, light purpling
Texture: Smooth, little sandy
Mould: Amedei print 5×2 mould
Snap: Crisp, thick
Notes: Rich cocoa, balsamic, cherry, red berries
Quality: Refined, rich, bold
Length: Long, flexible
Evenness: Even, malleable
Texture: Syrup, caramel, kirsch
Quality: Present, fuller
Notes: Lychee, raspberry, cherry
Notes: Caramel, soft set jam
Quality: Uplifting, developed
Notes: Almonds, cocoa, liquorice, cherry, lychee, raspberry, tart plum
Long flavours develop from cocoa tones to brightening fruits over the course of the round, in a long considered arc
Notes: Purple and red fruit, cocoa, almonds, caramel
Quality: Fruit acidity and sweetness fades leaving notes of caramel and almonds with background cocoa
Bar balances well by the finish, but as it develops there is a strong sense of sweetness, which can dominate, medium structure holds bar in place
Bar has some depth and more dimension, structure is uniform, expression is distinct, but is not deep with character, while refined it lacks some of the qualities of terroir and genetics of previous years, while remaining complex and refined
Amedei’s Tasting Notes: “chuao” is the cocoa whose name is borrowed from the plantation and the Venezuelan peninsula where cocoa beans from different cultivars are grown, with a centuries-old natural selection process in the territory. The initial impact is plums, followed by a strong cocoa flavour and finally a gentle acidity, with a mellow and sumptuous, fully satisfying flavour. It is the first time that this “cru” a “natural blend” has been processed in its pure form: up until now, it had always been used to enhance the flavour of other chocolates and lend them a richer state. The ancient beans were grow in the Venezuelan peninsula of Chuao. Today they are glorified in a blend, perfected by Amedei, the first in the world to use these beans in their pure state.