A Taste of Amedei

Posted by in Features on October 11 2012 | Leave A Comment

The highlight of my Chocolate Week so far has been the opportunity to sit down for a private tasting and a chat with Cecilia Tessieri, founder and maitre chocolatier of Amedei.

Amedei are one of the best bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the world. As well as producing their own bars, truffles and more, they supply patissiers the world over with some of the finest couverture chocolate available.

Amedei started making pralines in 1990, but soon became frustrated that the chocolate they were buying in wasn’t of the right quality or didn’t meet their own ethical standards. It was that frustration that led them to start making their own chocolate from the bean.

So few people make their own chocolate these days that chocolate making machinery is very hard to come by – a common issue faced by start-up bean to bar chocolate makers. So while Amedei hunted down antique machinery for their factory, Cecilla explored the world, finding the best quality cacao.

Today, Amedei chocolate is available throughout the world, and it’s a name synonymous with quality. Their range includes their famous ’9′ and ‘Toscano’ blends, as well as single origin chocolates, and the quite delicious new chocolate & hazelnut spreads pictured above. We were lucky enough to get to try most of the range with Cecilia who explained each chocolate as we went through them.

The recipe for Amedei’s range of blended chocolates has been developed and adapted over the years. Despite sourcing beans from the same locations, local conditions and other factors mean the flavour changes slightly from year to year. Customers, of course, demand a consistent flavour, so Amedei are able to make slight changes to their blends so the chocolate we eat maintains that flavour profile.

For me, the revelation was Amedei’s single origin chocolates which I hadn’t encountered before. These are all made to exactly the same recipe with no added cocoa butter. These chocolates perfectly illustrate the difference that changing nothing but bean origin can make to a chocolate.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect that encompassed all of Amedei’s products was the subtlety. Although distinctive, none of the chocolates we tried were ‘aggressive’ or challenging. Even the Madagascan single origin chocolate, known for its intense, fruity flavour and acidity, had a slow and gentle flavour delivery.

Ceclia calls this a ‘feminine touch’, and it’s something that has been designed into Amedei’s range. They are made with quality ingredients, but remain simple and understated.

I know there are differing opinions about Amedei, but I’ve always found them to consistently produce high quality chocolate. If you’ve never tried it, I can highly recommend picking up a bar of their famous Number 9. Even better, if you can get hold of the small carre squares, try a few different varieties together.

My hour spent immersed in the world of Amedei, was both exciting and informative. Even if I did leave a little bit of a mess.

Our thanks to King’s Fine Foods, UK distributors of Amedei, who arranged our meeting with Cecila, and to Fortnum & Mason (who also stock a range in their chocolate department) for hosting it.

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