If you’re not seriously into chocolate, you may not have heard of Chuao, but it’s kind of a big thing at the moment. It’s actually a small village in Venezuela, but those in the know say the surrounding plantations produce some of the finest cocoa beans in the world.
In the past couple of years, more and more fine chocolate producers have been making bars made from Chuao beans, which is great, if a little perplexing given that it’s such a small place. I’ve heard that many chocolates marketed as Chuao may be made from beans from a much wider area, but as the name isn’t protected, it’s difficult to know for sure.
The blurb on the inside of the bar mentions the “Chuao region”, so although it’s not stated, I would assume these are from a wider area than the village itself.
The format of this bar is exactly the same as the rest of The Purist range – a beautifully curvy slab with the Hotel Chocolat logo. There’s no chunks, but the bar is thin enough that it’s easy enough to break small pieces off.
My own bar had a few bits on the surface, spoiling the glossy look somewhat. That didn’t affect the flavour though. And a very nice flavour it is too.
Like most Chuao chocolates, it’s smooth and mellow and not bitter at all. There’s a hint of fruitiness, that reminds me of a Madagascan chocolate, but it’s not quite as zingy or fruity. This is more laid back and subtle.
I do like this bar, but it’s by no means my favourite. I recently tried a Chuao bar from Canadian chocolate make Soma, and that was lighter and more delicate than this. But the great thing about the Purist range is that you can pick up two or three bars of similar cocoa percentage and compare them side by side. There’s even two bars in the range where the only difference is the conch time, which I’m really looking forward to trying.