Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: Mast Brothers Grand Cru Chuao 76%

Lindy's Rating: 7.0 (previously ***)
Richard's Rating: 6.5 (previously ***)

chocolate makerMast Brothers
barGrand Cru Chuao 76%
cacao treesCriollo
size71g ~ 2.5oz
cocoa solids76%
added fat(none)
sweetenercane sugar
other ingredients(none)
list price$10.00

colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1317
Bitter Chocolate
texturesmooth with scoring, uneven sheen
aromaroast (cocoa), spice (clove)
tastesour, fruit (berry), spice (clove), roast, bitter, ashy
finishsomewhat astringent, slightly ashy

Like the Grand Cru Chuao 81%, Grand Cru Chuao 76% was made from Criollo cacao beans from the famous Chuao region of Venezuela. Mast Brothers makes their chocolate with only two ingredients: cacao and cane sugar (in proportions of 76% and 24%, respectively, for the Grand Cru Chuao 76%). The 2.5 ounce bar was scored into 32 small pieces, wrapped in gold foil and placed inside nice heavy craft paper. No number was stamped on this label, but based on the numbers stamped on the 81% and 70% bars purchased at the same time by my friend Michael (Thank you!), the bar was likely produced in May 2011.

The color of Grand Cru Chuao was a medium brown Bitter Chocolate (PANTONE 19-1317). As with the 81%, the surface was imperfect, with swirls of slightly different smoothness and color. The bar had a hard snap. The aromas of this chocolate were primarily a cocoa roast and a clove spice.

Grand Cru Chuao 76% tasted sour, with flavors of a non-specific berry, a clove spice, roast, and ash. The roast of the 76% was stronger than that of the 81%. Lindy also found the taste slightly bitter.

The melt was smooth, much better than the 81%. The length was short, with roughly the same 10-15 seconds of flavor after the chocolate was gone. The finish was somewhat astringent and slightly ashy, and lacked the bitter aftertaste of the 81%.

Overall, we both rated this chocolate a low ***.

In the U.K. you can purchase Mast Brothers Grand Cru Chuao 76% online for £9.95 from The Chocolate Society. Grand Cru Chuao 76% does not appear to be available online in the U.S. Mast Brothers chocolate bars are available at many retailers in New York and some others around the U.S. (here's a list on their website).

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