Why the disappointment? Well, I waited until my birthday to taste two very expensive of Porcelana chocolate bars. My plan was to compare the Original Beans “Piura Porcelana 75%” chocolate bar to the Bonnat's "Apotequil "Variete Porcelana" chocolate bar - two chocolate bars that cost quite a lot of money because of the rare and delicate Porcelana beans they were made with. The Bonnat bar smelled and tasted completely of mold (sorry, if you are British or Canadian, I do mean mould)!
At first, when I opened the Bonnat wrapper, I thought "what is that aroma?" which was clearly strong and very different from the chocolaty, smoky, nutty aroma of the Original Beans bar. Then, I put a piece of the Bonnat bar in my mouth and I instantly realized - the smell was mold! The bar itself looked fine, the snap was good, the chocolate was tempered perfectly, but clearly mold had affected the beans prior to making this chocolate.
It's not to say that I won't ever buy Bonnat's chocolate again. I will. I have the utmost respect for Chocolat Bonnat. I fell in love with their Puerto Cabella bar some months back and want to go back for more some day. And in fact, I may even try this Bonnat Porcelana bar again - from what I could tell it was very smooth and creamy - but it will definitely be from a different batch! This one was Lot A with a Best Before of October 2012. So check your chocolate bar, if you have a Bonnat bar from the same batch. As for me, I am calling up the distributor tomorrow and asking for a new bar!
As for Original Beans' "Piura Porcelana 75%" chocolate bar: I LOVE IT. The chocolate is not super smooth, but it is tasty. Rich, strong and like a black dark roast coffee or like a bitter, flavourful glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is reminiscent of raspberry and toasted pecans, as the back of the package mentions, although I don't personally taste the lime, Kumquat, or apricot that Original Beans suggests should be tasted. I am reminded of smoke and fire with this chocolate bar. It is definitely rich in flavours and worth a try by any true chocolate connoisseur.
Original Beans is all about protecting biodiversity and rainforests and "replanting the planet", so they have a very good cause in mind when making and selling chocolate. You can also go online and enter a code from your specific chocolate bar and track the specific trees that the cocoa beans came from in the Piura River Valley in Peru.
What I always find interesting with chocolate bars made from Porcelana beans is the colour of the chocolate. To the naked eye, you might confuse a very bitter 75% chocolate, like Bonnat's and Original Beans Porcelana bars, for milk chocolate. This is because the Porcelana beans are a rare white colour. It really goes to show that not all chocolate is the same, as I once thought when I was young.
Both Bonnat and Original Beans chocolate does not contain soy lecithin (they are soy-free), and only contain three ingredients (cacao beans, sugar and cacao butter), so they are free of any artificial flavours or even vanilla flavouring. Each chocolate maker also specializes in making chocolate from cacao beans of specific origins. See below for more detailed information on both manufacturers, such as website and other information.
The package details from the two chocolate bars that I tasted today are as follows:
Origina Beans "Piura Porcelana" 75%, 70g
Original Beans (Amsterdam)
Made in Switzerland
Ingredients: Direct-trade cacao beans*, cacao butter*, cane sugar*. *Certified organic. May contain traces of nuts, lactose and soy. Vegan. Gluten Free.
Apotequil "Variete Porcelana", 75% Cacao, 100g
Chocolat Bonnat (France)
Ingredients: cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar.