We reviewed seven bars from different regions around the world, with no one other than me having any information beyond that of the chocolate maker of some of the bars due to imprints.
The seven bars we tasted (in order of overal average rating):
|Chocolate Bar||Region||Cocoa Solids||average rating|
|Michel Cluizel Maralumi||Papua New Guinea||64%||3.4|
|Valrhona Gran Couva||Trinidad||64%||2.8|
|Republica del Cacao Los Rios||Ecuador||75%||2.3|
|Theo Costa Rica||Costa Rica||91%||2.1|
|Francois Pralus Ghana||Ghana||75%||1.9|
The Republica del Cacao Los Rios bar was particularly notable, generating strong reactions to its intense fig flavor. A few people thought it must be a flavored chocolate, even though it is not. Two people gave it the top rating of **** and two gave it the lowest rating of *.
The winner of the tasting, though, was clearly the Michel Cluizel Maralumi 64%. It was liked consistently by everyone. Every rating was either *** or ****, and everyone ranked it first or second among the bars we tasted.
I will add links in the above table to individual reviews as I post them over the next several days.
All in all, everyone seemed to have a good time and enjoy themselves. One person was amused that he wasn't noticing most of the specific aromas and flavors that others were, and instead focused on comparing differences in intensity of sweetness, bitterness, and richness. Many thanks to Phillip and Chris for organizing and hosting this event!
However, two improvements for any future tastings will be to review fewer chocolates, perhaps 4, and to start earlier. We started around 6:30 p.m., and because no one had eaten since lunch (to have a clean palate for the tasting), by the time we reached the 6th chocolate bar about 2 hours later, most people were ready to eat dinner. The bits of bread and water between chocolates were not substantial enough after so much time since a meal.