Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Chocolate Tasting

On Sunday I invited a bunch of friends around to taste some chocolate with me. I'd ordered some E. Guittard single origin bars to taste, and then had collected up various odds and ends
I'd gotten in trade from people on the net. I wanted to taste them all alongside the basic couvertures I'm using for my chocolate making, to see if there was something I should be using instead, or if any of them called out for use in a particular pairing.

We tasted 13 different chocolates - 10 dark and 3 milk.

Dark Chocolates
1. E. Guittard 61% (B)
2. Noel 64% (B)
3. New World 64% (U)
4. E. Guittard Sur del Lago Venezula 65% (SO)
5. E. Guittard Quevedo Ecuador 65% (SO)
6. E. Guittard Chucari Columbia 65% (SO)
7. E. Guittard Ambana Madagascar 65% (SO)
8. Valrhona 2002 Chuao Venezuala 65% (SE)
9. E. Guittard 72% (B)
10. El Rey Apatmate Carnero Venezula 74% (SO)

Milk Chocolates
11. Callebaut Milk (B)
12. El Rey Irapa Rio Caribe 40% (SO)
13. E. Guittard Orinoco 41% (B)

B=blended, SO=single origin, SE=single estate, U=unknown

I have a horrible chocolate vocabulary, so I don't have detailed tasting notes to share. But I was pleased that the E. Guittard chocolates I have been using stood up well against the rest. I didn't particularly like the El Reys - as one attendee, also a chocolatier, said "I know I'm supposed to be impressed by El Rey, but I'm just not." The 74% in particular was downright unpleasant - kinda chalky. I'm not really sure what #3 was - it was labeled as "New World 64%" but I can't find anything like that anywhere on the net.

Of the four Guittard single origin bars, the Ecuadoran (#5) was the favorite. Mostly, I think, because it tasted the most like how we expect chocolate to taste. The others were more varietally distinct. #6 was interesting - woody, smokey and kind of peaty - might be good on it's own as a single origin truffle.

#8, the single estate bar, was very complex. Lots of layers of flavor. It comes from the Chuao cocao bean, which is only grown in one small place in Venezula, which is only accessible by the ocean, blah-blah-blah... Very unique, very interesting. It's a vintage chocolate, in that it has a year of harvest associated with it, and is made only from beans from that harvest. This was a freebie that I got from Chocosphere when I placed my giant chocolate order with them recently.

#2 came from an eGullet friend who traded me her go-to chocolate pistole for some of my bonbons. It was quite different from the others in the tasting, I think because it has much lower acidity than the others. It had some distinct anise and cinnamon kind of notes. Some people thought it was almost peanut-buttery. It's not a clean enough tasting chocolate that I would want to use it for general use, but I may play around with it for for a cinnamon or peanut butter center, places where it's unusual character will contribute.

The milk chocolates were, well, milk chocolate, which I mostly don't like. But the E. Guittard Orinoco was better than the other two, so I'll keep it as my basic milk chocolate for now. Even my friend Sue liked it, and she generally doesn't like milk chocolates that are high in cocoa content. So if I've found a milk chocolate that both she and I like, then it's definitely a keeper!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

El Rey is supposed to have the best white chocolate.