Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: Valrhona Gran Couva

Lindy's Rating: 9.0 (previously ***)
Richard's Rating: 9.0 (previously ***)

chocolate makerValrhona
barGran Couva
plantationGran Couva
cacao treesTrinitario
size75g ~ 2.6oz
cocoa solids64%
added fatcocoa butter
emulsifiersoy lecithin
flavoringvanilla extract
other ingredients(none)
list price$7.99

colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1518 Puce
texturesmooth with text imprints and scoring
aromaroasted almond, smoky, sweet
tastesweet (brown sugar, caramel), roasted nuts (almond, hazelnut)
This is our second review of the Valrhona Gran Couva bar. It was the first bar I reviewed upon starting this blog three months ago. This review is based on our experience of the same production year, 2009, during our recent blind chocolate tasting.

The medium brown color of the Gran Couva appeared somewhat different under the incandescent lights of the dining room of our host than it did under the fluorescent lights of my office. I've come to realize that even using PANTONE colors is problematic as they differ based on lighting conditions. So, please be aware that our color descriptions are typically determined under fluorescent lighting.

The Gran Couva had a nutty aroma of roasted almond along with a smokiness. Other scents noticed by our blind tasters were sweet and hints of vanilla and grass. The taste of this chocolate was dominated by flavors of sweetness and roasted nuts. The sweetness was clarified as brown sugar and caramel; the roasted nuts were clarified as almond and hazelnut. Flavor hints of nutmeg, some sort of liquor (perhaps bourbon or whiskey), grass, and pear were also detected.

The melt was smooth, the length in the low 20 seconds range, and the finish was a pleasant fade without noticeable bitterness. This chocolate profile is similar, but not identical, to our original review.

Both Lindy and I were much more aware of an excessive sweetness this second time around. She lowered her rating from **** to *** and we both lowered this chocolate in our overall rankings (dropping off Lindy's current favorite 10 chocolate bars, but remaining on mine).

Unfortunately, we did not take an opportunity to photograph the opened chocolate bars at the tasting, so I only have a picture of the wrapper.

UPDATE: As of 17 April 2013, the best price I found for purchase online in the U.S. was $6.99 from Caputo's.

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