On my first trip to Paris, back when I had more of a casual relationship with chocolate, I stumbled upon a café which had an impressive window display of Valrhona Chocolate. When I went in to investigate, I was introduced to some of what is still my favourite chocolate and even now, I still look at them as being one of those reliable brands that I can depend upon. It also means that anything new from Valrhona is pretty much an automatic purchase, as was the case when I saw their Loma Sotavento bar.
Valrhona Loma Sotavento is the first batch of bars from a new Dominican Republic plantation which Valrhona started farming back in 2011. The bar weighs in at 70g, and it gets a new look box which features a sketch of the estate. When it comes to percentages, a bit of hunting around reveals it is 64% although it isn’t displayed prominently which is a little strange – you have to seek out the ingredient list to find it.
The chocolate itself looks typically pretty – nice and shiny, with an interesting series of lines that guarantees that only strangely-shaped pieces can be snapped off. When it comes to flavour though, I was a little underwhelmed. That isn’t to say that this isn’t a decent bar of chocolate, but it lacks the specialness I was hoping for.
It starts off promisingly enough with plenty of smooth, robust chocolate notes but just as it begins to build up some momentum, it stops. Some of that is down to the added vanilla which is always there without being too obvious, but there’s a distinct lack of complexity from the beans. There might be the slightest suggestion of citrus and berries as it lingers, but it just isn’t enough to elevate this from being surprisingly one-dimensional.
Maybe they are still finding their feet when it comes to this particular location but considering that this is a Valrhona bar, I was expecting more. I’m not willing to give up on Loma Sotavento yet though and I’ll be back to see what the 2014 Vintage has to offer.