It may seem odd, but one of the things I love best about being (kinda, sorta) involved in the chocolate world is the amazing people I get to meet.
One of those people is Art Pollard, co-founder of Utah-based Amano Chocolate. Art is a mild-mannered software engineer turned evil chocolate genius. He first sent us some of his chocolate back in January 2008, and I immediately fell in love with the Madagascar bar.
A couple of days ago I got to try Amano’s latest creation for the first time, and last night at the Academy of Chocolate awards party, Art was kind enough to give me a whole bar for review. And it’s one of the most remarkable chocolates I’ve ever tasted.
Inside the simple but beautiful packaging lies a chocolate that’s so packed with flavour that you might find it hard to believe there are just four ingredients – cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla beans.
The flavour is intensely fruity, but it’s not the same citrus fruitiness of the Madagascar bar. This is deep, red fruits. Blackberry and blackcurrants. Underneath, there’s a leathery note, but it’s the fruit that’s the real star here.
Regular Chocablog readers will know that I’m not really one for picking up every distinct flavour note in chocolate, but I do know what I like, and I like this bar.
Scratch that. I love this bar.
I have a couple of friends who have completely fallen in love with Amano’s Dos Rios bar recently, and while I like it myself (especially knowing the work that went into creating it), my personal preference is for the fruitier chocolates. It’s what I love about the Madagascar, and it’s why I love this bar too.
Scratch that. I adore this bar.
There are a couple of caveats that go with it though. The first is that you can’t actually buy it yet. I don’t imagine it will be too long before it appears on Amano’s website, but you’re probably going to have to wait a little while to try it yourself.
The second is that this bar is so fresh that the flavours are still developing. It takes time for all the flavours in chocolate to develop and come together, so in theory I should give this a couple of weeks before reviewing it. In practice, there’s no way it’s going to last that long, and I really don’t think it will do anything but get even better anyway.
If you get a chance to try this chocolate, do so. It really is remarkable how so much flavour can come from four simple ingredients.