Monday, November 8, 2010

Venezuela versus Tanzania Couverture - fruity versus woodsy

As promised, I am back to some proper tastings today.  I am making chocolate products for Christmas and am planning to sell single origin chocolate truffles this year.  I've just received a shipment of Cocao Barry's "Origine rare" line of couverture products and today I am working with the Venezuela 72% (with 41.8 % min. fat) and the Tanzania 75% cacao (with 45.4% min. fat).  The idea behind couverture, for those who don't know, is that it is supposed to have a higher cocao butter content to provide a nice shine to the chocolatier's finished chocolate products and a smooth, creamy flavour.  I love working with couverture as it is always creamier than your average chocolate and although sinful to simply eat handfuls of, it is tasty.

Immediately upon opening the 1 kg packages, the Tanzania has a lovely smell of soft sweet vanilla combined with smokiness and spice. On the other hand, the Venezuela has a terrible smell.  It smells like fruit, including dried apricots and spice and vanilla and Play-doh all mixed into one.  I had high expectations today for the Venezuela, because in most tastings that I've done with other Venezeulan chocolate bars, people always seem to prefer it.  Perhaps the taste will be better than the smell!


The flavour is actually better than the smell.  Sometimes the smell can lead you down the wrong track, so watch that you don't reject a chocolate based on smell alone.  Aromas don't always produce themselves in the taste.  The Venezuela is very bitter, a little creamy but a little gritty on the tongue at the same time.
Instantly when I taste the Tanzania chocolate, I like it better.  It is creamier (well, I guess so  with  45.4% fat!) and has a real strong spicy flavour.  I personally have grown to like bitter chocolate with strong smoky, woodsy flavours.


Upon second tasting of the Venezuela, it now tastes sweeter in comparison to the Tanzania with the initial bitterness practically disappearing, although it is still less smooth and creamy than the Tanzania. That strong dried fruit smell is now coming through in the flavour, along with vanilla. 


Going back to the Tanzania for a final tasting, its spicy flavour is even stronger and its bitterness more apparent.


Although it may seem a bit confusing above, I find it is good to go back and forth among two chocolates in order to really taste the flavours of each.  Just tasting each chocolate once, and then not returning to them again and again within the same tasting session can cause missed opportunities to taste something new that you didn't taste the first time. It enables a true comparison. Just remember to drink some warm water between each chocolate, and do not take a long break between each type or you will lose your basis for comparison.


I have gone back and forth between these two origin chocolates several times now and realize that I personally prefer the Tanzania.  However, I could see how others, who prefer a sweeter (fruitier) flavour, might choose the Venezuelan.


I will put a picture up of my finished tasting squares and truffles in the coming weeks, in case anyone is interested.  I am curious to see how these flavours translate when cream is added to each.


Here are the stats on these two chocolates:
Cacao Barry Dark Chocolate Couverture Tanzanie Origine rare, 75% cacao, 1 kg package (2.2 lbs)
Ingredients: Unsweetened chocolate (origin Tanzania), sugar, cocoa butter, natural vanilla.  May contain milk. "...a subtle mixture of Forastero and Criollo" beans. (quoted from Cacao Barry package)
Barry Callebaut Manufacturing France www.cacaobarry.com


Cacao Barry Dark Chocolate Couverture Venezuela Origine rare, 72%, 1 kg package (2.2 lbs)
Ingredients: Cocoa mass (origin Venezuela), sugar, cocoa butter, natural vanilla flavour.  May contain milk. A blend of "...highly aromatic Criollo with Trinitario from the famous Venezuelan regions of Carenero Superior and Rio Caribe." (quoted from Cacao Barry package)
Barry Callebaut Manufacturing France www.cacaobarry.com

3 comments:

  1. May i ask where you bought the Tanzanie from? I haven't been able to find it in australia.

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    Replies
    1. Hi! I bought it from Signature Fine Foods in Toronto, Canada. You may want to look at food suppliers to the baking industry somewhere near you. Also, check the vanillafoodcompany.ca - they may have it, but it is Canadian as well.

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