A.Morin Venezuela Porcelana 100% 90/100

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From Venezuela’s Sur Del Lago region, which literally means south of the lake, these Porcelana beans are grown close to Lake Maracaibo. Renowned for their delicate criollo profile 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 and makes them most suited to higher percentage bars. Once harvested these beans are shipped to The chocolate factory Morin located in Donzère, in the south of France, which has been making chocolate since 1884.

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I’ve tried a few bars made from Porcelana beans and a few 100% bars, both with their own types of attributes. On the one hand I’d expect the Porcelana beans to be light, delicate, refined and with the potential to exhibit floral and fruity flavours. On the other hand, 100% bars have a tendency to exhibit bitterness and astringency, to be heavy, thick and dark, which is almost the opposite of Porcelana bean traits. With this in mind I’m interested to see which style comes out on top and whether the negative qualities are balanced away or whether they overcome some of the more positive attributes of the chocolate. Opening the bar the appearance is a little on the unrefined side, it’s simple and the texture’s a little rough. There’s an improvement in the aroma with the introduction of perfumed florals and some yellow berry acidity. To taste the mouthfeel begins out like so many 100% bars with a long full melt, but softer and lighter than I’ve come to expect from the thick mouthcoating astringency of a 100%. To taste the acidity and sweetness are obviously muted, with only the natural sweetness and acidity of the cocoa coming through, but it’s there and it’s bright and uplifting considering the cocoa content. There’s yellow fruit flavours such as mandarin and physalis, tea and wine like sweetnesses and flashes of purple florals. This is great chocolate laid bare, it’s as if the chocolatier has refused to get involved with this bar, completing the minimum of intervention to turn these beans into a chocolate bar. The production isn’t particularly refined overall, but it also lacks a stamp or style, rather this bar is a somewhat rustic expression of some very fine cocoa beans. While this bar isn’t light – it is after all a 100% – it’s the sweetest, lightest and least bitter 100% I’ve tried, it speaks to why porcelana was for many years heralded by those who ate cocoa without adding much, if any sugar. This is about as accessible as a 100% bar gets and it’s a pleasant way to explore 100% flavours offering a lighter and balanced approach to intense chocolate. For once I might admit that this is best enjoyed in moderation.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans

Appearance 8/10

Colour: Darker brown
Texture: A little rough, air holed granite
Mould: 4 x 6 simple squares
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Cocoa, violets, physalis acidity
Quality: Perfumed, fragrant, honest

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Pastey, syrupy, buttery
Quality: Soft, light, full

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 3
Notes: Mandarin, physalis
Quality: Refined, bright(considering)


Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Ripe fruit, blue tea, dessert wine
Quality: Floral, light, uplifting

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8.5
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Sweet earthy tones, white florals, violets, cinnamon, mandarin, blue tea
Quality: Subtly complex, refined, nuanced

Length 9.5/10

Flavours get longer as the melt proceeds and flavours round off increasingly well

Finish 9/10

Notes: Mandarin, cocoa, butter
Quality: Mandarin acidity and sweetness fades, leaving twinges of cocoa and a buttery mouthfeel that lingers with sweet earthy tones

Balance 9.5/10

Bar leans on the sweet earthy side for the majority of the melt, but beyond that theirs a complexly refined set of flavours that balance out beautifully, I suspect this would have near perfect balance if it was less dark, medium to light structure allows flavours to breathe

Overall 9.5/10

Bar is light but has depth, there is plenty of dimension of flavour and high complexity is well balanced, structure is loose but uniform and expression feels rustic but entirely honest, as if honesty has been preserved at the cost of some finer clothing


A.Morin’s Tasting Notes: This cocoa, with white porcelain beans, grown in the Sur Del Lago de Maracaibo region is spicy and has a strong cocoa character but it is also fruity – dried fruits, almonds – and floral with notes of jasmin

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