Rozsavolgyi Csokolade Venezuela Chuao 73% 91.5/100

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Formerly the exclusive purchasing right of Amedei, Chuao has been open to other bean to bar producers for a while now. 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 cacao comes with a reputation for having won a glutton of awards and so bar makers run a risk with these beans of not living up to their reputation. This particular Chuao is from Chuao Village and comes with a serial number provided by La Empresa Campesina de Chuao. Once shipped these beans arrive in Budapest, Hungary at Rozsavolgyi Csokolade’s workshop where 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 from Chuao, of Chuao and from the Chuao region, while there’s some noticeable differences between them, pretty much all of them exhibit some similar attributes. The chocolate tends to be particularly refined with up front cocoa notes with a fairly refined red fruit acidity, depending on the roast and the chocolatework the bars tend to be particularly smooth too. I would expect something similar here with Rozsavolgyi Csokolade producing noticeably smooth bars and with a high degree of expertise in processing Venezuelan cacao. In almost outrageously beautiful packaging, opening this bar is a visual pleasure and that’s before you even get to Rozsavolgyi Csokolade’s intricate flower mouldings. Snapping off a piece there’s sweet earthy aromas that give hints to roasted cherries and lemony florals all with a fermented nature. Placing a piece in my mouth there’s a noticeably smooth texture that manages to feel both jammy and refined. Now I shouldn’t be saying this, but this bar lacks intensity, an observable rather than a quality defining aspect of a bar. The flavours are really honest and have good clarity feeling particularly representative of the cacao and its terroir, but these are displayed on a soft and smooth palate that lacks intensity and a little depth. It’s like the difference between cacao nib tea and hot chocolate, it’s not that one is better than the other just that sometimes you want more, a greater display of chocolateyness or flavour. In terms of quality flavour though, this bar delivers, it’s both distinctive and clear, with natural and developed sugars, rich cocoa and great red fruit flavours. As per expectation the balance is notably good and the finish is refined and clean, best enjoyed when you’re not looking for quality to force itself upon you, a gentle soft delivery of high quality flavour.

Ingredients: cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter

Appearance 9.5/10

Colour: Medium brown, light purpling
Texture: Very smooth
Mould: Roz intricate flower mould
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy matte

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Roasted cherries, sweet earthy cocoa, ferment, lemon verbena
Quality: Rich, earthy, aged

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Smooth, buttery, jammy
Quality: Refined, heavy

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 4
Notes: Cherry, lemon
Quality: Soft, rounded, irregular

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Ripe fruit, cachaça
Quality: Natural, developed

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Rich cocoa, cherries, raspberries, cachaça, lemon
Quality: Distinctive, clarity, soft

Length 9/10

Flavours have a low intensity, but retain a decent length, rounds come as the acidity peaks

Finish 9/10

Notes: Cherry, lemon, water
Quality: Cherry acidity fills the end before a flash of lemon and a watery clean finish

Balance 9.5/10

Soft complementary nature of the bar provides a lot of balance, medium structure assists, creating very even levels

Overall 9/10

Bar has some depth and dimension, minor complexities are well balanced and structure is uniform, expression is honest and clear with processing providing an expertly smooth mouthfeel


Rozsavolgyi Csokolade’s Tasting Notes:

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