We often speak of bars that enthrall the senses in ways that only a particular origin can; or those that deliver a breadth of flavor only achievable through a proprietary blend or a distinct set of processing standards. Dozens of these bars come to mind, and they indeed deserve praise and admiration, but now is not the time. Instead, I want to focus on the other end of the spectrum, the amazingly hideous bars that make you cringe at the mere thought of them.
Recently, a friend from Germany sent me a Porcelana bar produced by Bonnat. This bar has been circulating for a couple months now in Germany and only recently has it become available at Chocosphere in America. At a whopping 100g, the bar is larger than most bars of Porcelana composition, and the price certainly shows.
It has been stated by many consumers (me included) that Amedei has the superior Chuao, while Bonnat’s is a close second. Well, I recently got my hands on a Valrhona Chuao from 2002 and was somewhat eager to try it. I say “somewhat” because I tasted the 2003 vintage in its final days and was sorely disappointed. The chocolate was unlike any Chuao I had tasted previously, and I wasn’t sorry to see that origin go the wayside.
(This article is double listed from cocoa content to open discussion about this subject.)
Chuao is one of those places we’ve all heard about but never visited. It’s a remote coastal village in northern Venezuelan flanked by lush rain forests, lofty mountains, and the sparkling Caribbean Sea, and inhabited by a people that may seem trapped in time. Indeed, Chuao has an illustrious and romantic history that still can be witnessed, in a sense, just by looking at pictures of cacao fermentation or, better yet, tasting a bar of chocolate produced from its beans.