As promised, I made a quick trip to the chocolate shop because I have spoiled my appetite for most Trader Joe’s chocolate (which would have been otherwise more convenient!). The walk was beautiful, though, and not too far from my office.
I had to rush since I was meeting Robert on the Dupont Metro platform at 6:45, so I didn’t have much time for small talk or browsing. The shop did have a fun little sale display, though, which is where I found the Michel Cluizel shown below, Grand Noir 85. The mid-size aspect of it was kind of fun, not a mini one-/two-bite sample or a larger bar (a bigger commitment if you’re sampling for the first time).
The mold design is beautiful too. I loved the matte and glossy finish. Fantastic design.
Does the label of black and red mean anything? It sure gives off an air of a robust and heavier bar…which might just be my own projection on what the colors mean to me. This is sort of the case with the Pralus 100%. It has a charcoal gray label, but then again, the Tanzanie does too. So, I’ll have to pay more attention. p.s. I wanted to purchase Parlus 100% last night, but apparently no one in the states can even get it right now. There has been a distribution problem and it’s tough to get your hands on right now. I’ll watch for news otherwise.
Back to the Grand Noir above. The bar was very aromatic and had strong tangy and smoky notes. It actually rang of olives and even strangely a fresh green bean aftertaste. The melt coated thickly and was chalky. This one gets a 2.5 (on a 1-5 scale).
I asked the shop guys what their favorite Pralus was since I couldn’t get the 100%. They recommended this sampler kit. It cost the same as one bar ($9) and it would help me really get an idea of how different beans from different plantations, though from the same maker, can throw in varied flavor. Fantastic idea.
Robert and I sampled several last night. I tried to get him to pay attention to notes and melt, but he was doing some work on his laptop and all I got was, “Mmmm mmm!” and that that thing Italians do when they love something – fingers brought together to their mouths and pulled away with a sort of kiss in the air. Robert lived in Italy, so he’s an expert. Anyway, I can give you a little more detail on my part.
We managed to limit ourselves to sampling from only two countries because we’d already sampled some of the Grand Noir 85 and I really wanted to revisit my recent favorite–Cluizel’s Maralumi (below). The Domori (below) is on reserve for our dinner with the Hares this weekend. It’s one of our all-time favs, and as mentioned in my previous post, a fav among many.
Okay, so we tasted the Pralus Tanzanie and Madagascar.
Tanzanie – notes of raisin and current, very aromatic, good melt, wonderful aftertastes. This one gets a 4.
Madagascar – notes of licorice (great for Lisa!) and a very smoky not sure what. My palate is not expert enough yet to know what the heck it also reminded me of. I’d give this one a 3.5.
I replaced Robert’s Brita plain water with the sparkling without his noticing and the carbonation overwhelmed his nose as he took big gulps expecting plain…hazards of my trying to have a quick sampling, but not as methodically as I should have been.
We ended with Cluizel’s Maralumi Noir, which is still tops for me. I thought nothing could rival Amano’s Madagascar, but they run neck and neck.