Michel Cluizel Papua New Guinea Plantation Maralumi 64% 87.5/100

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This bar is created from Trinitario cocoa grown at the Maralumi plantation on the island of Papua-New Guinea, off the coast of Australia. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Damville in Normandy just west of Paris to Manufacture Cluizel to be turned into one of their single plantation chocolate bars.

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I’ve tried a couple of bars from Papua New Guinea now and they’re distinctive that’s for sure. The one’s I’ve tried have all exhibited big earthy and fermented flavours with a tendency towards green fruit and acidity notes, such as lime, gooseberry, kiwi or sour grapes. It might just be the bars I’ve tried so far, but they’ve tended to be big and intense in flavour, no doubt coming from the trinitario beans mixed with the fermentation techniques used. Opening the packaging and breaking off a piece reveals some earthy and acidic aromas with a touch of light smoke, not unusual for PNG cocoa. Placing a piece in my mouth it’s syrupy and glossy and has the feel of heavily manufactured bar. To taste the cocoa feels light, while flavourful, with the usual punchy intense flavours of Papua New Guinea toned down and made more palatable. This is still and earthy and acidic bar, just more approachable and tapered down a little. There’s this flavour in there that reminds me of cocoa pod mucilage or pulp, but I can best describe it as a creamy cachaça, that pervades in amongst the more noticeable sweet and acidic flavours. The bar has a good smooth length with good rounding from the acidity, which makes it easy to enjoy a set of distinctive golden fruit flavours and earthy cocoa tones. At 64% I was worried the bar might be a little sweet, but the bars sugar tones match up well with the acidity providing golden syrupy sweetness and a slight nuttiness in the style of coconut sugar. This so far for me is the most approachable of Papua New Guinea’s cocoa that I’ve tried, but I’d become fond of Papua New Guinea’s wild flavours, so if you’re looking for an easy introduction then this might be the best pick for you.

Ingredients: Cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter, bourbon vanilla pod

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium milky brown, light purpling
Texture: Smooth, light flake
Mould: 5×3 Michel Cluizel relief slab squares
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte sheen

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Light earthy acidic cocoa, light ferment, light smoke
Quality: Deep, distinctive

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Medium/long firm
Evenness: Even
Texture: Syrupy, glossy, smooth
Quality: Complementary, highly processed, heavy

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Lime, golden kiwi
Quality: Honest, rounding

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10):
Notes: Ripe fruit, golden syrup, coconut sugar
Quality: Developed, clarified

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Earthy cocoa, syrupy fruit, golden kiwi, lime, cachaça, currants
Quality: Distinctive, dampened, balanced

Length 9/10

Flavours build in length getting longer as the melt goes on, the bar also gets increasingly more rounded with the acidity the further through the melt you get

Finish 9/10

Notes: Currants, cachaça, golden syrup, cream
Quality: Bar ends with notes of currants and waves of acidity before a long sweet creamy finish with the flavour lingering on well after the finish

Balance 9/10

The bar feels like it should be naturally out of balance, but a heavyish structure and some careful cultivation, produce a bar that is under control and well balanced considering its inherent nature

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has depth and dimension to its flavour, relative amount of complexity is heavily balance, heavy structure remains consistent and expression is distinct of origin with processing providing restraint and accessibility


Michel Cluizel’s Tasting Notes: Created from Trinitario cocoa grown at the Maralumi plantation on the island of Papua-New Guinea, off the coast of Australia. The cocoa used provides a slight spicy edge to this mellow dark chocolate with fresh hints of green banana and tart, sour notes of red currant. The sweetest of the Cluizel single estate dark chocolates.

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