Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chocolate bars - chuao, porcelana.

I have a confession. I'm a guy who has a cake and chocolate addiction. Judge me if you will, but like coffee, chocolate is not just "dark, milk, and white" - there's a new type called "blond" from Valrhona. There's different cocoa cultivars, regions, estates, plantations. Unlike coffee however, the bean to bar space in chocolate is still fairly young, but single origin chocolates are become more and more popular, with the pointier end offerings that include single estates - such as the Chuao, then there are specific beans like Porcelana.

Over the last few weeks I ordered a number of different varieties online, with bigger bags of valrhona (manjari, guanaja, dulcey, get the idea) for moulding chocolates and smaller bars of amedei, pralus, michel cluizel well for eating.

So today, the bars.

Amedei - Chuao
Amedei - Porcelana
Pralus - Chuao

Amedei are seriously famous for their chuao and porcelana bars, possibly some of the best chocolate available in the world. Chuao (the region) has been labelled as one of the best region for cocoa (of the Crillio variety, which at one time, was exclusive to Amedei). After reading up on their chocolates a bit more, Amedei are in my opinion revolutionary. Active at origin, they have made the the pure strains of crillio beans available to well, the world. Porcelana, being one of the purest strains of Crillio is only made in small quantities, is highly prized and made in extremely limited quantities, the packaging (which is hand numbered by the way), indicates that only 20,000 bars are made per year. So yes, it is something special. It also comes at a special price, anywhere between $15-21 per 50g bar. It is seriously expensive. Like seriously expensive. So make no mistake, I had high expectations.

I wanted to compare the Amedei Chuao with another producer to see whether there were material differences despite its identical origin. So I'll be comparing it with the Pralus.

Pralus - Chuao
First thing you notice is how smooth this chocolate is. Incredibly smooth, the mouth can only detect particle sizes of 30-50microns, and really good chocolate when conched for long enough, can be below detectable limits. This one just melts, like butter, which perhaps suggests a higher cocoa butter content to cocoa mass. This bar, overall, was quite mild, with vanilla and floral notes dominating with only a light acidity.

Amedei - Chuao
Unlike the Pralus, it isn't as smooth, but the flavour profile is more complex. Strong acidity, and incredibly long finish. The hallmark of a really good chocolate is how complex it is, generally devoid of a monotonous and uniform flavour profile as it melts and changes in your mouth. I won't go into describing all the notes (because I don't know how). But a very enjoyable chocolate, despite a slight graininess.

Amedei - Porcelana
Ok. There is a reason why this chocolate has such a reputation (and a wikipedia page devoted to it - anything on wikipedia must be FACT and FAMOUS). The old adage, you get what you pay for, holds true in this case. Basically, unbelievably nice chocolate to eat. Balanced acidity and smoother mouth feel than the chuao with a very complex flavour profile. Long finish. This one is not one to just eat in the car..

When eaten side by side, there is no doubt the porcelana is the winner. Despite the fact that each of the bars have their own strengths, the finish of the porcelana is something that leaves an overwhelming sense of wanting more. The deep complexity of this chocolate that won't polarise people, with balanced acidity, strong aromatic notes threaded with the right amount of sweetness, it is what you really want a chocolate to be. At 70%, you'd expect some noted bitterness, but the balance and harmony of the overall flavour profile ensures the hallmark bitterness of some dark chocolates to fade into the background, with a finish that is long, satisfying and certainly complex.

The Porcelana is a very expensive chocolate, but it will be worth every cent.

Oh, and here are some moulded chocolates I also made with my Valrhona Guanja. Quite a bitter 70%, so a bit strong for the fillings, but still DELICIOUS!!


No comments: