Valrhona Noir Tainori 64% 85.5/100


This bar is made with beans from the Dominican Republic. 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. 


I’ve tried a lot of chocolate from the Dominican Republic over the years and my experience so far has been of a chocolate that expresses dark cocoa and earthy tones, but with a propensity for red berry notes when it’s at its best. My hope is that this bar expresses some of the finer qualities of cocoa from the Dominican Republic and while likely sweet at 64% possess enough fruit and earthiness to keep the bar balanced and interesting. Opening the bar it’s the familiar crazy paving slab of Valrhona’s and breaking a piece off reveals a fairly unimpressive aroma of metallic cocoa with hints at fruit and smell reminiscent of rubber. Placing a piece in my mouth improves the situation with a creamy and juicy mouthfeel that’s almost fun, slightly malleable and quick towards the end but generally refined in nature. To taste the bar opens with floral golden syrup notes before proceeding onto to sweet fruits that are more reminiscent of Asian produce. Physalis, lychee and a general white/yellow profile to the fruit is finished by notes of tamarind before finishing with sweet brioche and vanilla notes. It all has the feeling of an interesting take on French toast or fruit topped toasted brioche with sweet dessert notes dominating the proceedings. The most unsual thing about this bar, is that these flavours are present in a cocoa from the Dominican Republic, it’s interesting, original and distinctly different from other cocoas I’ve tried from this origin. This bar is admittedly a 64%, but it’s far lighter and sweeter than anything I’ve tried from the Dominican Republic and represents a different take or approach on the origin. The lightness does have some downsides in terms of structure and stability, but otherwise the bar remains fairly likeable and very approachable. Best enjoyed alongside complementary dessert flavours like passionfruit eclairs.

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

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Medium brown
Texture: Chalky fudge
Mould: Valrhona crazy paving segments
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 8/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Notes: Metallic cocoa, fruit pomace, rubber
Quality: Unrefined, processed

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long, speeds up a little towards the end
Evenness: Even, a little malleable towards the end
Texture: Single cream, glossy, juicy
Quality: Slick, refined, patisserie

Acidity 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Physalis, lychee
Quality: Fruity, light, bright

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Floral golden syrup, fruit juice, rice
Quality: Bright, uplifting, confectionary/dessert

Flavour 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet
Notes: Metallic floral cocoa, physalis, lychee, tamarind sweet white wine, buttered toasted brioche, vanilla
Quality: Light, sweet, distinctive

Length 8.5/10

Flavours extend in length over the course of the melt, with fruit flavours getting the longest, rounds come intermittently from peaks of sweetness

Finish 9/10

Notes: Physalis, buttered toasted brioche, vanilla
Quality: Fruit flavours make their way to the end and are present on and after the finish, but the finish is mainly buttered toasted brioche and vanilla, leaving lingering sweet dessert tones for a long while

Balance 8.5/10

Bar has a complementary tone, but isn’t overtly balanced, structure wavers between light and medium which provides intermittent stability

Overall 8.5/10

Bar has some depth, but slightly more dimension, subtle complexities are inconsistently balanced, structure wavers a little between roasted and light, expression is individual and honest, but hallmarks of smooth processing and vanilla are present in the mix

Valrhona’s Tasting Notes: Tainori progressively reveals fresh yellow fruits aromas followed by notes of roasted dried fruits reminiscent of freshly baked bread


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