Not called a Special or Limited Edition, Amano’s Chuao bar is a step above in the Signature Collection. As Dom and Michael recently explained when they looked at Soma’s version, Chuao is special of itself. Special enough to give this a $9.95 price tag (most Amano bars are $6.95). You’ll want to particularly note the artwork on the card box: it shows cacao beans drying in front of the Chuao church.
The coloring of this bar is slightly darker than in the Cuyagua bar; it’s a blue bar instead of a yellow. (Sidenote: perhaps it is Amano’s affluence with assigning colors to their bars that makes me like them.) Tasting notes given here are plums, blueberries, molasses, coffee, and almonds. I can’t say that I was so perceptive as to pick up up all of that, but it is a proper tone-setter to this 70% chocolate.
Starting off my journey were the berries, with some saltiness sparking up the halfway point. It’s deep like a black ocean. “Dark” doesn’t quite work because there is a grain of sweetness flowing through; “deep” works better. Like an ocean, it is ever increasing down and down, one-toned yet multi-faceted. There is a depth like wine to its richness.
I agree with Dom that it’s still an opinion whether or not this is the absolute best and most breath-taking chocolate; it is, however, also completely worth it.
I also received from Amano a larger selection of their boxed chocolates, so I’ll finish up with a quick look at the last of those.
Yemini Sidr Honey Ganache With Guayas Chocolate – A yellow dome with a smooth filling that is as bold and sweet and golden as real honey.
Cardamom and Pepper Ganache With Dos Rios Chocolate – The more adventurous spices are kept to a low enough key as not to offend; their tangy spark mirrors the melting pace of the chocolate.
Ocumare Palet D’Or – Shaped like two mountains moving past each other, there is a pleasant zip of sweet and spicy in this one that murmurs against the smooth chocolate.
Guayas Palet D’Or – With a sweeping and wavelike mark marking, this one is deeper and darker, tasting rich like raisins while remaining gentle.
It’s wonderful to watch as Amano expands: they’re on a roll of quality right now.