Michel Cluizel Madagascar Plantation Mangaro 65% 88.5/100

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This bar is created from Trinitario cocoa beans from the Mangaro plantation in Madagascar. 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 plenty of Madagascan cacao now, those big fruity and acidic flavours of red berries that are the dominant feature of that cacao. With this bar featuring trinitario beans I would expect the fruit and acidity to be prevalent here with Madagascan trinitarios tending to be the most acidic of beans in chocolate. My hope is that with them being from a single plantation, they might offer something of a subtle nuance on Madagascan cacao as an origin. Opening the packaging and breaking a piece off this bar at first feels a little underwhelming, the appearance isn’t particularly special and the aroma hints at a lack of any particularly interesting flavour, but put it in your mouth and suddenly there’s an improvement. This soft juicy jelly like mouthfeel with creamy underpinnings proceeds onto a soft and rounded set of fruit flavours. There’s particularly even levels between the flavour, acidity and sweetness and they complement each other helping to combine to make a Madagascan 65% that’s neither too sweet nor too acidic. The highlight is the fruit and acidity, but really it’s a bar with a fairly original claim, it’s both processed to high industrial standard, while having clear, pleasurable and honest flavours. For those that are familiar with industrially processed bars, those that only buy their chocolate from large producers or large suppliers, this offers a clear example of how an origin produces a distinct and original flavour for its chocolate, without any risk of instability or a lack of refinement that small batch craft chocolate can sometimes be guilty of. This is the bar to convince anyone who buys expensive blended chocolate that single origin is the better, more interesting choice.

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

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: darker brown
Texture: Smooth fudge, light flake
Mould: 5×3 Michel Cluizel relief slab squares
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 6.5
Notes: Faint acidic fruits, Brazil nut, sherbert, vanilla
Quality: Simple, lightly synthetic

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Medium/long, soft
Evenness: Even
Texture: Soft set jelly, juicy, creamy
Quality: Soft, rounded

Acidity 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Raspberry, apricot, mulberry
Quality: Soft, rounded

Sweetness 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Ripe fruit, raspberry syrup, cream fudge
Quality: Developed

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Raspberries, apricot, mulberry, blush wine, hazelnut, cream
Quality: Soft, smooth

Length 9/10

Flavours extend in length throughout the melt, becoming more rounded as the acidity increases

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Raspberry, hazelnut, cream
Quality: Theres a peak of raspberry cream towards the end, before a hint of nutty hazelnut, before a lingering cocoa cream and back of the mouth nuttiness after the finish

Balance 9/10

Bar is predominantly smooth and soft and remains fairly balanced, acidity and flavour get bolder but still remain within the realms of balance, structure is fairly light with flavour keeping itself anchored

Overall 9/10

There is some depth and dimension of flavour here, complexities are well balanced, structure is light but consistent and expression seems a little muted, but developed and honest, processing provides some additional creaminess


Michel Cluizel’s Tasting Notes: The Michel Cluizel, Mangaro chocolate bar is created exclusively from Trinitario cocoa beans from the Mangaro plantation in Madagascar. This fine dark chocolate bar is possibly the most exotic of all the Michel Cluizel single estate range. The Mangaro dark chocolate bar provides a well-balanced range of citrus fruits with an underlying edge of ginger to aid depth and character. The Mangaro is one of seven, single estate chocolate bars created by Michel Cluizel.

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