Well, we're finishing the year on a high with a bar from Valrhona. This is the first time we've featured a bar from the house of Valrhona and the anticipation is palpable. The company originally started in 1922, known as La Vivarais, but it wasn't until 1947 that the brand came onto the seen. The name Valrhona was derived from the Rhone Valley. The Ecole du Grand Chocolat, opened in 1989, by the celebrated pastry chef and chocolatier Frederic Bau. I've never visited but I've been reliably informed that it is probably the best in the world by a number of chefs who have been lucky enough to attend their courses. See website for more information, Valrhona.
The Chocolate: This particular bar is from Trinidad an historic source of Trinitario cocoa beans. Nestling in the fertile hillsides of Montserrat, the little village of Gran Couva is home of one of the island's oldest plantations. This is an estate grown bar of chocolate with a 64% cocoa content. The initial aroma is very fruity with rich cocoa in the background. The mouth feel is glassy. A hint of tobacco and leather as the first chunk slowly melts followed by rich cocoa that has a pleasant sweetness about it with tobacco flavours coming in and out. The chocolate is not as intense as I thought it was going to be. Perhaps I prefer a bitter chocolate after all these years! Interestingly, I tasted a Single Origin chocolate from Peru with a 64% cocoa content and noticed an explosion of coconut that I'd never experienced before. How revealing!
Overall a delicious bar of chocolate and I look forward to tasting the two other bars, El Pedregal from Venezuela and Ampamakia from Madagascar. This bar scores 7/10 as it was delicious but I was slightly disappointed by the strength of flavours. You can purchase this bar from The Chocolate Trading Co for £4.75.
Posted by Richard.