Valrhona Caraibe Noir 66% 85/100

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This bar is made from a blend of trinitario beans from the Caribbean. Once harvested these beans are shipped to Le Harve and then driven to Tain-l’Hermitage, part of the Rhone Valley, an area particularly famous for growing wine, where Valrhona turn them into one of their Grand Cru chocolate bars. 

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I’ve tried this cocoa before, it was a while ago and in fairness to this bar I tried the cocoa in couverture format, so I would expect this to eat a little better. I remember it being pretty distinctive with fruit and spice notes reminding me of trading company produce from Caribbean islands. I would expect some more of those flavours present here, but wrapped up in a slightly more presentable format, creamier maybe and more accessible. Opening the bar it’s the familiar crazy paving slab of Valrhona’s and breaking a piece off reveals aromas of cocoa, spice and dried fruits as expected. Placing a piece in my mouth the texture is mostly creamy but it has a slick feel to it that develops into a jellied texture over the course of the melt. To taste this bar displays spice flavours with sweet candied dried fruits and a mixture of both confectionary style sugars with some more developed darker sugars. It reminds me as being somewhere between the cocoas of Grenada and Sao Tome, with balanced spice and orange citrus notes in the mix. Overall this bar is pretty consistent, it’s not exemplary, but it does manage to be individual and distinctive for a more simple and industrially processed bar. Rather than displaying archetypal chocolate flavours, it makes a clear display of origin if not an overtly honest and clear one. There’s not really anything to complain about here, in the end it’s an enjoyable bar with a distinct set of flavours, that provides a warming tone and a consistent overall experience.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soya lecithin, natural vanilla extract

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium brown, light purpling
Texture: Fudgey, light flake
Mould: Valrhona crazy paving segments
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Cocoa, cinnamon, all spice, dried orange peel
Quality: Warm, fragrant, aged

Melt/Mouthfeel 8.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Creamy, jellied
Quality: Firm, slick

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 3
Notes: Orange
Quality: Soft, sweet

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Candy sugar, brandy snap, toffee
Quality: Equal parts confectionary and developed

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Candied spiced orange, ginger tuile, brandy cream, fruit jellies, all spice
Quality: Distinctive, sweet, warm

Length 8.5/10

Flavours have a fairly decent length, although stop short of being full, rounding softly on peaks of sweet fruit tones

Finish 8.5/10

Notes: Fruit jellies, orange, toffee, spice
Quality: The end is full of fruit jellies and orange tones that lead to a toffee finish with lingering dark sugars and spice notes that leave behind a warming sensation

Balance 8.5/10

Considering spice and fruit elements all in the mix, the bar remains fairly balanced with a smooth creamy base that provides enough structure and stability to equalise levels

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has some depth and some dimension, small amount of complexity is well balanced, structure is open but consistent, expression is individual with distinctive characteristics, but balanced and rounded overtly by smooth creamy processing keeping expression within certain limits


Valrhona’s Tasting Notes: Balanced and Velvety: For generations, cocoa trees have been grown in the shade of banana trees in the Caribbean on rich clay loam soils often referred to as “chocolate lands”. A unique blend of trinitario beans gives Caraibe its smooth chocolate and roasted dried fruit notes with a slightly oaky finish.

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