Lindy's Rating: 5.5 (previously **)
Richard's Rating: 5.5 (previously **)
As a favor to me before coming to Seattle, my friend Michael (who lives in New York) went to Brooklyn to purchase the entire line of unflavored chocolate bars made by Mast Brothers. Thanks to his generosity, this is the first of six new reviews of Mast Brothers chocolate bars.
Grand Cru Chuao 81% was made from Criollo cacao beans from the famous Chuao region of Venezuela. Made with only 81% cacao and 19% cane sugar, the 2.5 ounce bar was wrapped in gold foil and packaged by hand inside nice heavy craft paper. The bar was scored into 32 small pieces. As indicated by the number 11200511 stamped on the label, this bar was produced on 20 May 2011.
The chocolate had the color of a medium brown Bitter Chocolate (PANTONE 19-1317). The surface was imperfect with swirls of slightly different smoothness and color. The bar had a relatively hard snap.
Grand Cru Chuao gave off aromas of roast, musty earth, and something floral. I also noticed a spice scent as well as a hint of orange.
Bitterness was the initial flavor, and then we tasted a strong citrus that seemed to be lemon, cherry, some roast, spice, ash, and a hint of sweetness.
The chocolate took a while to begin melting, and we judged the melt to be less smooth. The flavor lasted about 10 to 15 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The final aftertaste was somewhat bitter and slightly astringent.
For a Chuao, this chocolate was disappointing. Overall, we both rated it **.
In the U.K. you can purchase Mast Brothers Grand Cru Chuao 81% online for £9.95 from The Chocolate Society. Grand Cru Chuao 81% 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).