Friday, January 8, 2016

Chocolat Chapon: Origin Chocolate Made the French Way

Wow. Cocoa Butter.  That was my first thought when I put a piece of Chapon Chocolatier's Venezuela origin chocolate into my mouth. The thought was back when I tasted Chapon's Cuba chocolate bar. After tasting primarily American and Canadian bean-to-bar chocolate recently, the high cocoa butter content was nearly a shock to my palate.

This fatty indulgence was not unpleasant though, but it certainly got me thinking again about how French chocolate is influenced by the country's food culture.

But before discussing that, let's take a closer look at Chapon's chocolate...

Venezuela Origin Chocolate Bar by Chapon:

My taste experience was completely opposite Chapon's website description of the flavours for this chocolate bar. Nutty, with no fruit flavour to me, except perhaps just in the aroma. A strong 'roast' flavour was quite noticeable. Overall, bold flavour and extremely creamy chocolate that was quite enjoyable. I would buy this chocolate bar again.


Cuba 'Cacao Rare' Origin Chocolate Bar by Chapon:

When I first tasted this chocolate, I immediately thought of super sweet ground cherries with a hint of industrial flavours. Although, I think it would be quite enjoyable to many people who like that sweet, bold, fruity cherry-type flavour. Also there was some spice and smoke, and woody roast flavour.


Interestingly, Chapon's Cuba origin chocolate tasted a lot sweeter than the Venezuela chocolate, despite both have 75% cocoa solids and the same amount of sugar. It reminds me a little of some Brazilian chocolate that I have tasted, where I can't quite pinpoint the unique flavour. The website description of flavours in this chocolate is a little different than my own, but perhaps my perceived exotic fruit taste is really the taste of real licorice; I suppose I will need to revisit licorice to decide. Overall, a very eye-opening look at Cuban origin chocolate.

Setting up a chocolate tasting with Chapon's chocolate:

I think it would interesting to create a chocolate tasting line-up with Chapon's chocolate, and including a Bonnat Asfarth dark-milk chocolate, with also two American craft chocolates, such as two-ingredient chocolates like Castronovo's Sierra Nevada and Askinosie's Ecuador, or perhaps Dandelion's Venezuela bar. An Amano chocolate bar would also be a great way to round out the tasting, as Art Pollard uses a little more cocoa butter in his chocolate compared to some of the newer bean-to-bar chocolate, but with a balance, and not as much as the French chocolate makers.

This tasting line-up would show a cultural difference, highlighting the French way of looking at chocolate like it is a true indulgence and 'par plaisir' with extra creamy, high-cocoa butter mouthfeel. In America, the bean-to-bar and fine chocolate trend is more about the health benefits of chocolate, minimal processing, and learning to enjoy just the flavour of the natural cacao, without added ingredients, which often means a stiffer texture and slower melt. You will find a shocking difference between the two styles of chocolate. So what's better? Well, I suppose that depends on you.

Personally, I like both. I like to be hit with the bold flavours of American-style craft chocolate and recently, it is what I am most used to. But I have to admit that I feel I might melt away with the chocolate into a cloud of bliss when I put one of Chapon's or Bonnat's super creamy, cocoa buttery chocolates into my mouth.  And the cocoa butter certainly softens any abrasive flavours that might exist.

More About Chapon:

With four shops in France (two in Paris), Chocolat Chapon seems to be on rise. They have even added a Chocolate Mousse Bar food truck to their line-up of locations.

And what can I say about their Chocolate Mousse Bar - I thought an ice cream shop with every flavour being chocolate-only existed in my dreams, but Chapon's Chcoolate Mousse Bar is exactly the ice cream shop of my dreams. The ice cream comes in four flavours of single origin chocolate: Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar and a mixed variety (Ghana and Ecuador mix). My question is: is it mousse or is it ice cream? Either way, I could live there. In Chapon's shop. Forever. 

I am tempted to get on a plane right now and fly to France to find out. Oh a girl can dream.

Ingredients and Package Details:

Chapon Chocolatier Chocolat Noir D'Origine CUBA, 75g (2.65 oz)
Ingredients: cocoa mass origin Cuba, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: SOYA lecithin.
May contain traces of tree nuts, mustard, milk and sesame seed.
Cacao: 75%

Chapon Chocolatier Chocolat Noir D'Origin Venezuela, 75g
Ingredients: cocoa mass origin Venezuela, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: SOYA lecithin.
May contain traces of tree nuts, mustard, milk and sesame seed.
Cacao: 75%

I purchased both chocolate bars for $9.99 (CAD) each from www.latablette.ca (located in Montreal). For more information on Chapon Chocolatier, visit: www.chocolat-chapon.com.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you! I love how your blog is set up simply...I have so many ideas and forget that simple is often best. I looked around and I like the post on tempering for candy...helpful seems small. So thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! I love how your blog is set up simply...I have so many ideas and forget that simple is often best. I looked around and I like the post on tempering for candy...helpful seems small. So thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting Blog! Chocolate recipe create sweets in a great variety of forms and kinds of taste. One of my most loved recipes to have or make is the milk chocolate praline truffle. Thanks for sharing the best chocolate varieties.

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