Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Valrhona Abinao Chocolat Noir Dark Chocolate 85% Cacao

70g (2.46 oz) bar
Ingredients: Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla
5g sugar/40g serving (12.5% by wt.)

Several months ago I received this bar from a friend, opened it, ate a bit, put it aside, and didn't get back to it until now. What I'm saying is it might not be quite at its best, so whatever I think about it today might not be completely fair. Still, we're talking Valrhona here [link warning: lots of flash and irritating music], so I didn't want to leave it off the blog entirely.

In the intervening months the bar has bloomed a bit on the edge, but otherwise it's still the same dark medium-brown with a very dull surface. Up close it smells like the chocolate version of dark roast coffee, toasted and almost smoky. It breaks into hard, brittle pieces but then melts quickly into something delicate and smooth. Though it's still strongly flavored, the light creaminess helps balance the sour and tannic elements: This flavor might have been called pungent, but instead it's merely intense. The finish is mouth-drying and bitter, not my favorite final impression but interesting anyway.

Conclusion: Valrhona Abinao Chocolat Noir Dark Chocolate 85% Cacao brings a contradiction in textures and a just-barely-tamed intensity.

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