Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: E. Guittard Ambanja 65%

Lindy's Rating: 7.5
Richard's Rating: 8.0

chocolate makerGuittard
cacao treesCriollo,
size57g ~ 2.0oz
cocoa solids72%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane sugar
emulsifiersoy lecithin
other ingredients(none)
list price$3.89

colorlight brown
PANTONE 19-1431
texturesmooth with signature imprints and scoring, slightly uneven sheen
aromaearth, spice (clove), roast (cocoa), coconut, vanilla
tastesweet (brown sugar, honey), blueberry, orange, spice, roast, earth
finishsweet, slightly sour, slightly tart
Ambanja is a single origin bar made by U.S. chocolate maker E. Guittard. It was made with a mix of Criollo and other cacao beans from the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar. Ambanja had 65% cocoa solids (cacao beans and cocoa butter); the other ingredients were cane sugar, soy lecithin, and vanilla beans.

This two ounce bar was scored into 12 pieces, each with an E. Guittard signature imprint. The chocolate came wrapped in brassy-colored foil inside a paper cover. The best before date on the wrapper was October 2012.

The color of Ambanja was a surprisingly light brown Fudgesickle color (PANTONE 19-1431), almost as if it were a milk chocolate. The surface was smooth, with some slight differences in sheen. Those differences appear more dramatic in the photo above than they were in person. The bar had a hard snap.

This chocolate had a strong earth aroma, but with other scents as well. We smelled a spice that I experienced as clove, a roast in the form of cocoa, a scent of coconut, and vanilla.

Ambanja had sweet flavors of brown sugar and honey, but the strongest flavor became blueberry as the chocolate melted. Adding complexity were an orange and a mixed spice. Note that the orange wasn't a citrus fruit, but more like an extract. I also tasted roast and earth.

The melt was smooth. The flavor lasted about 30 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving it a medium length. The finish was sweet and slightly sour, and after a few minutes the final aftertaste was slightly tart as well.

You can purchase Guittard Ambanja online for $3.89 directly from Guittard or for $3.35 from Chocosphere.

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