Monday, 19 January 2015

Review: Valrhona Noir Guanaja with Cocoa Nibs

This beautiful bar was a present from dear friends in Germany – thank you very much for the thoughtful gift, it was very much appreciated! :) Valrhona is something of a legend, I think – it's a name often mentioned in connection with high-grade luxury chocolate and in recipes that call for the best of the best. I'm not sure I've ever tasted anything from Valrhona before (I know! Shocking!) so I was very happy to get this chance!

I think this bar must have been chosen with the season in mind: the lovely red and gold wrapping made it a very appropriate Christmas present. In addition, the outer wrapping gives the bar a definite air of luxury and decadence, which is further enhanced by the gold of the inner wrapping. Everything says we're going to taste something special now! The bar itself is irregularly patterned by thin lines that don't cut very deep into the chocolate. The bar is also nice and thick – yes, there may be a certain elegance to the thinner bars and pieces, but honestly, I love sinking my teeth into a thick piece of chocolate! When you break pieces apart, you hear that snap characteristic of premium chocolates.

And was it special? Yes, it was! The scent is dark and chocolatey. The cocoa content is 70 % but the chocolate isn't bitter or acidic. It is definitely not as sweet as some other dark chocolates, but I thought that was rather refreshing. My first impression was of a little hard and dryish chocolate, but once the piece begins to melt in your mouth, the richness of the taste reveals itself. The cocoa nibs provide a nice crunch – their taste wasn't as intense as I expected, but they add a roasted flavour that, for whatever reason, reminds me a little of coffee. On the whole, I'd characterise this as a somewhat robust, down-to-earth chocolate that still provides you with an undeniable feeling of luxury. It's refined but not pretentious. I like that!

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