Chocolat Bonnat Brazil M. Libanio 75% 93/100

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From an association of farmers on the Bahia coastal region of Brazil. Here we have a set of trinitario beans descended from some of the first trinitario to grow in Brazil. Once harvested the beans are shipped to Voiron in France where Stephane Bonnat turns it into one of his ‘Les Grand Crus’. Chocolat Bonnat have too much history and expertise to write about here, but have a plethora of information available on their website http://www.bonnat-chocolatier.com/fr including an ungodly array of single origin and grand cru chocolate bars for you to marvel at. 

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I’ve tried very little chocolate from Brazil so far, but the chocolate that I have tried is a bit like the coffee I’ve tried, it tends to stick to archetypal chocolate flavours, cocoa, nuts, caramels with some bars more refined than others. I have experienced flavours other than this from Brazilien origin, but they’re few and far between with most sticking to simple flavours. My hope here is that the bar either be refined and those flavours come with quality or that this bar offers something more individual and interesting. Opening the bar there’s the familiar quality chocolate work of Chocolat Bonnat, glossy crisp chocolate, well portioned out set in their distinctive mould. Breaking off a piece there’s a fruity and distinctive aroma, this isn’t just chocolate and nuts, there’s redcurrant, pine, lime and clementine offering something particularly interesting. To taste, well this is one classy chocolate bar, it’s one of the best examples I’ve tasted of how to use quality processing to help refine and smooth out a bar with intense and distinctive flavour. In spite of the strong dark sugar flavours in this bar and the intense fruity and spice flavours that go with it, the processing manages to create a smooth and creamy mouthfeel with rich tones and a wonderful length and balance. Usually with chocolate bars there tends to be an inverse relationship between flavour and the more refined parts of a bar, bars tend to be fruity and flavourful but lack refinement or they’re smooth and wonderfully balanced but lack intense and honest flavours, but this manages to pull them both together and have them complement each other. The processing doesn’t mask the flavour and the flavour doesn’t overwhelm the balance, rather a refined complexity arises and the flavour develops with increasing dimension. While it’s not perfect it’s a joy to eat both sensually as well as sensorially, with both the texture and the balance offering a great base on which to build complex and dimensioned flavours of redcurrants, fruitcake and sherry soaked raisins. This bar feels for me very reminiscent of Christmas flavours, of spice and dried fruit and winter berries and I’d look forward to tasting it again as much as I would to the foods that come with winter and Christmas.  

Ingredients: Cacao, cacao butter, sugar

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Medium light milky brown with medium purpling
Texture: Smooth, chalky
Mould:
Bonnat Voiron centre with 6×5 fingers
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Glossy

Aroma 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Redcurrant, pine, lime, clementine
Quality: Fruity, honest, distinctive

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long, firm
Evenness: Very even
Texture: Glossy, creamy, smooth
Quality: Smooth, full, skilful

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Raisin, redcurrant
Quality: Balancing

Sweetness 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Toffee, dark demerara sugar
Quality: Developed, dimensioned, dark

Flavour 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Sherry soaked raisins, fruitcake, redcurrants, cream, all spice
Quality: Complex, dimensioned, distinctive

Length 9/10

Flavours build and get longer and fuller, with quick but decent rounds

Finish 9/10

Notes: demerara sugar, cream, all spice
Quality: Bar ends with dark sugars and spiced biscuit flavours, leaving a lingering sense of cinnamon and creamy lebkucken

Balance 9.5/10

Bars smooth creamy nature and complementary attributes lead to a lot of balance even given the complex and intense flavour, dense structure helps to anchor the bar

Overall 9.5/10

Bar has tonnes of depth and dimension, complexities are well balanced and structure remains consistent, flavour feels indicative of terroir and processing helps to smooth out and refine the intense flavour


Chocolat Bonnat’s Tasting Notes: A smooth chocolate which, depending on the harvests, often has a light aroma of coffee and red fruits.

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