France, Vila Gracinda, São Tomé, 67%
If anyone wants to send me on a “cacao research trip” to Sao Tome, I’ve got my bags packed. It looks like a gorgeous island, dreamy. Until I find an angel investor to finance my chocolate adventures, I’ll have to experience São Tomé from a distance through chocolate bars. This Michel Cluizel bar is made from São Tomé beans, but it doesn’t communicate much about the origin. If the beans had any edge, they’ve been sanded down in the production process. It’s disappointing when that happens. I’m saving my pennies to buy some of Claudio Corallo’s rustic looking São Tomé produced chocolate because I want to know what São Tomé beans taste like when they haven’t been refined to the point of blandness.
This 67% Michel Cluizel bar has all the hallmarks of fine French chocolate. It is glossy and snappy with the sweet smell of vanilla. The addition of cocoa butter makes for a slightly oily melt. The flavors are mellow and rounded. I’m reminded of fudgsicles, custard and butter on a slice of dark rye bread. It’s quite sweet, which will appeal to those who are just dipping their toes into the dark chocolate fountain. This is what I call “eating chocolate”. That is the term I use to describe bars that are pleasurable but not challenging. It is technically excellent chocolate, palatable for the mass market. It doesn’t push any buttons. It is elegant but not riveting.
Jasmine co-founded Chocolate Codex as a way to share her enthusiasm for chocolate. She has a certificate in Chocolate making from Ecole Chocolat and she runs a foodblog called The Blenderist.