Amano is one of my favourite chocolate makers, with their Madagascar bar being amongst my all time favourite dark chocolate bars. They’ve come a long way in the last four years, and now even sell fresh chocolates and truffles. But I’m always excited when I get to try one of their bean-to-bar creations for the first time, as I did with this bar at a recent Chocolate & Love tasting.
Dos Rios (Two Rivers) is a 70% dark chocolate made with beans sourced from the Dominican Republic. These beans were apparently is difficult to work with as they were to source; according to the Amano website:
“These are some of the most difficult beans with which we have worked. While making this chocolate, the flavors shifted wildly. We had to bring our entire repertoire of skills to highlight the beans incredible flavor. Even so, we had to develop new techniques to make this chocolate — some of which we believe are ground breaking and we are looking forward to applying while working with other beans.”
The packaging and presentation of the bar is every bit as good as you’d expect from Amano. In fact, one of the main problems I have with Amano chocolate is that they are so beautiful, that they’re objects I want to own as much as I want to eat. I’m always a little sad to have to open the box and unwrap the thick gold foil for the first time.
But the reward for doing so is a beautiful, rich dark chocolate with a rich, deep aroma. There’s a hint of orange in the aroma, but it’s not as fruity and sweet as the Madagascar bar, but just as inviting.
When you taste it, the first flavour that comes through strongly is bergamot. It’s strong enough if you didn’t know better, you might think the chocolate has additional flavourings in it. It doesn’t of course, and all the flavour comes from those unique cocoa beans.
As the chocolate melts, the more fruity and spicy notes make themselves known (I picked up orange, grapefruit & cloves), before more subtle flowery flavours like jasmine and rose come through at the end. It’s certainly one of the more unusual chocolates I’ve tasted recently, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Madagascar bar remains my favourite from Amano, but this is a must-try too, partly because I’ve never tasted a chocolate quite like it. The range of flavours that real artisans like Amano manage to entice from the simple cocoa bean never ceases to amaze me.