This bar is made from cocoa butter and is absent of cocoa powder or solids, presenting itself as a new style of chocolate, blond, as opposed to white. This bar is produced by Valrhona at their factory in Tain-l’Hermitage, part of the Rhone Valley, an area particularly famous for growing wine.
I’ve tried some white chocolate, but not a lot and not a lot of the single origin variety either. This bar isn’t even white chocolate though, it’s blond chocolate and so I have very little experience with this kind of chocolate at all. I have used cocoa butter in cooking a lot and tasted plenty of it unsweetened, but I have a feeling this will be a different experience entirely. My general expectations are for something similar to white chocolate, but with more caramel tones owing to its colour, some darker more complex sugars possibly. Opening the bar it’s the familiar crazy paving slab of Valrhona’s and breaking a piece off reveals smooth creamy vanilla aromas with hints of caramel, so far in line with my expectations. Placing a piece in my mouth there’s butter, cream and crème patisserie in the mouthfeel, but with fatty textures like those in cream or cheese. To taste this bar begins as caramel and crème caramel, offering a light exploration of slightly more complex sugar notes, but during the course of the melt it changes and becomes altogether more refined, rounded and interesting. It begins to display roasted notes of honey toasted cereals and caramel biscuits, that are both subtly complex as well as being of fine expression. Looking over the tasting notes at the end, Valrhona mention freshly baked shortbread and they’re not wrong there, it’s an interesting mix of fats, developed sugars and these baked/toasted/roasted notes that express themselves well in balance. It’s like taking a white chocolate bar with its sweetness and lactic acidity, but darkening it a little to provide better development of the sugars. All in all this seems to offer something interesting and original in comparison to white chocolate, it’s reminiscent of the flavours in a Milky Way just in a much more adult way. Best paired with citric and sweet white wines like Riesling.
Ingredients: Cocoa butter, sugar, whole milk powder, dried skimmed milk, whey (milk), butter (milk), emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla extract.
Colour: Caramel white Texture: Soft butter fudge Mould: Valrhona crazy paving segments Snap: Soft thick crisp Temp/Shine: Consistent matte
Intensity(0-10): 8 Notes: Milky, creamy, vanilla, caramel Quality: Smooth, refined, simple
Length: Medium to long Evenness: Even Texture: Butter, cream, crème patisserie Quality: Smooth, fatty
Intensity(0-10): 2 Notes: Buttermilk Quality: Light, balancing
Intensity(0-10): 8 Notes: Caramel, toasted cereal, honey Quality: Developed, roasted
Intensity(0-10): 8 Type: Sweet Notes: Caramel, crème caramel, buttermilk, honey toasted cereal, caramel biscuit Quality: Rounded, subtly complex, roasted
Flavours get longer throughout the melt, stretching out with rounds stretching further and further
Notes: Honey toasted cereal, caramel biscuit Quality: Sweet buttermilk tones make their way to the end where honey toasted cereal notes and caramel biscuits fill the finish with complex roasted notes that leave creamy notes to linger
Bar starts off subtly balanced, but then becomes more complexly balanced, with complementary flavours and tones, medium structure helps to anchor flavour
Bar has depth and a good degree of dimension, complexities are well balanced, structure is a little weak, but consistent, expression is true of cocoa butter content and roasting
Valrhona’s Tasting Notes: Creamy and Toasty: The first notes of dulcey chocolate are buttery, toasty and not too sweet, gradually giving way to the flavours of freshly baked shortbread with a pinch of salt.