Valrhona has been spoken of so lovingly by so many world famous chefs in recent years, I thought it was time to give my wallet a hammering and buy some. First, I had to find it as it wasn’t exactly at the front counter of my petrol station or fish and chip shop and eventually I went to David Jones to buy this compact 90 gram tin of Jivara for $26.95.
Oh dear, that is a lot of money. Translated, that is around Three Hundred Aussie Bucks or £140 per kilogram. Upon opening the tiny treasure trove, the delicate gold lettering told me that in order to enjoy this as much as possible…
“…take the time to awaken your senses. Observe the color, listen to the characteristic ‘snap’, appreciate the texture on your tongue and enjoy it until all of the aromas are released.”
At $1.50 for each five gram square, I intended on doing just that, if only to make them last a bit longer!
The tasting wheel informed me that my Jivara Lait 40% was rated a 4 for Force Intensity with 7 as the highest score; one bean each for Roasted Nuts, Acidity and Bitterness with four beans the highest out of the other varieties included on the wheel. Being a milk chocolate, it was understandable that Fruity scored a big fat zero. Essentially, Jivara Lait is Valrhona’s second mildest chocolate, with Tanariva Lait 33% being the mildest and Abinao 85% the strongest.
Despite being encouraged to observe the aroma, there was pretty well nothing to sniff as each tiny square was unwrapped. When placed on the tongue, it melted quickly and gently revealed its generous proportions of milk and cocoa butter. The wrapper spoke of a ‘vanilla finish’ but my taste buds were revealing a honey caramel which didn’t seem so surprising when brown sugar was found on the ingredients list.
My verdict? Jivara is very, very nice. But then again, so is Lindt’s milk chocolate which is much cheaper and more easily available. Even the Valrhona website is posh. So posh that it has the classic Gallic arrogance of inviting you to visit via the US-English tab, but provides all the details and information in French. So whilst I’m glad to tick this off the list and be able to say that I’ve tried some, for flavour equivalency, top-notch quality and value for money, I’d reach for Lindt instead.