This fall, Valrhona launched their online shop in the U.S.; I’ve received a sampling of what you can find there. All very welcome to me as I’ve only had Valrhona once. First up are these three Estate Grown bars, all 64% cacao.
The Palmira from Venezuela Simon already reviewed. Very soft tasting with lots of honey flavor. I had that moment of rebellion with it when I didn’t want to slide the rest back into its box to move on to the next bar.
Which would be the Ampamakia, made with beans from Madagascar. This one is more rich and deep, still with fruitiness. It’s stronger in taste. It melts just beautifully; it reminds me of a foamy lather.
Third is the Gran Couva in a light cream box. Its origin is Trinidad. I thought it had the most robust-looking color out of the three, just a bit deeper. It was also my favorite out of them. Still gentle and chocolatey at the low 64%, its chocolate flavors are more earthy. It’s a bit grittier than pretty. Even all at the same cacao percentage, the bars keep up their individuality: soft and sweet, deep cocoa and fruit, and earthy. All nicely done, as well.
Then we have two flavored bars. I’ll be reviewing the plain Grand Crus separately, so I won’t go into too much detail about the chocolate itself until then.
The Manjari Orange just happens to be another 64%, with “orange flavored nuggets.” Lovely ingredients for those: sugar, orange puree, apple, pineapple fibers, thickener, acidity regulator, and natural flavor. Okay. That list doesn’t encourage me: I can never “get” chocolate and orange together. The orange taste here is fairly throughout the chocolate, which seems just at the right level to go along with it. It’s a sweeter taste when you get to those sugary orange/apple/pineapple bits, which have too much of a jelly candy taste. As orange chocolates go, though, I suppose it’s pleasant, mostly because the chocolate is so good. But I’m waiting for someone to win me over to the chocolate/orange idea, and it hasn’t happened yet.
On the other hand, the Guanja Grue I do very much like. It’s a 70% dark chocolate with nibs. Lots of them. there are plenty of nut chocolates that have less nuts than this bar has nibs. They’re flavorful, too, with their wonderful blueberry taste. Their flavors combine seamlessly with the chocolate, making it difficult to say how much each is contributing. Usually nibs have a much sparser presence; I’m really enjoying the command they have here. You can get the sophisticated flavors while still casually crunching your chocolate. I don’t feel wasteful chewing it this time, either, since I have a whole other plain bar waiting for me. All in all, a great showing from Valrhona.