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Wednesday, November 24, 2010
'Chocolate Treasures' from Equador, Tobago, Trinidad, Peru, Papua-New Guinea, Madagascar, Venezuela and Costa Rica
The 75% chocolate from Tobago has a really nice dark, luxurious colour and a wonderful smell. It is bitter, and tastes like what bitter chocolate should taste like. It's also thick on the tongue and difficult to melt away and swallow. But very good. I don't believe there is vanilla in this chocolate either.
The 80% Tembaroro is from a plantation in Trinidad. It also has a nice smell and is definitely the most bitter (well, duh, it's % is different). There is nothing distinctive about this chocolate compared to the one before it - which may be due to the closeness of Trinidad to Tobago.
Now that I've tasted them all, I realize that I can't really taste any distinct flavour profile differences in these chocolates, which is strange considering that they are supposed to all be made of beans sourced from different countries. They taste very much like the same chocolate, only more bitter with each % difference. I think I better try this again to really see.
I have laid them all out side by side. Other than the 60%, the others all smell like the same chocolate, only less sweet as they go up in percentage of cocoa solids. The 60% is also the only one that looks different - it has a milky chocolate look to it, and in fact, melts in the mouth in such a way that it is possible there is milk products and flavour. Mmmm...it's very good!
I have now tasted two of each piece and gone back and forth between the different %s and really can't taste a difference between each region that the chocolate is supposed to be from. Usually I can taste distinct differences. Either it's my taste buds today, or they are using the same cocoa beans for each chocolate and just varying the sugar content. Alternately, their production process and combination of sugar and cocoa butter is masking the specific flavours in the cacao beans - if that is even possible when the beans come from a single plantation.
I have sampled the milk chocolate, and have noticed that they are melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.
There is a definite colour difference between each of the milk chocolates as the cocoa solids percentage increases. And like the dark chocolates of the same brand, I haven't noticed any distinct regional flavour profiles between the milk chocolates.
Here are the milk chocolates that come in this `treasure` box:
Overall, the milk chocolates are creamy and leave your mouth watering for more. So does the 60% El Cuador plain dark chocolate. If you check their web site, it looks like they have a nice variety of formats of the 60% chocolate, from portion controlled sizes to larger ones. I highly recommend this chocolate.
The treasure box would be great for a tasting party. But be sure to include two or three other single origin/plantation chocolates from different brands to really see what flavour differences can be identified between single origin chocolates. A few Cachet bars or Valrhona would be good ones to try.
All that said, I do recommend this chocolate to people who like portion control - you can just through a few of the individually wrapped pieces into your bag each day for an afternoon-pick-me-up at work. It is also great for those who like to have a variety of milk and dark chocolate on hand. For instance, if you really love milk chocolate and your spouse or someone in your family loves dark chocolate (or vice versa), then this is a great box to keep at your house. It is also a great way to introduce yourself to tasting chocolate with different percentages of cocoa solids by giving you the opportunity to taste several at one time.
However, if you are looking to taste chocolate with interesting and different regional flavour profiles of the cocoa bean itself, this is not the box for you.
That's it for today. I've eaten so much chocolate this evening, I only hope I can sleep tonight! This is why tastings should be in the day time...
Here are the stats on the company that makes the Chocolate Treasure box:
Chocolate Treasures, 8 varieties, 150 pieces (1000 grams) by Rausch Schokoladen GmbH
Marketing on website: "...a full aroma and still is amazingly mild; every single variety is carefully balanced to bring out the character of its cocoa. For each variety we use only fine flavoured cocoa from one single cocoa plantation."