Sunday, December 14, 2014

Review: Valrhona El Pedregal

Richard's Rating: 8.0
chocolate makerValrhona
barEl Pedregal
plantationEl Pedregal
cacao treesCriollo
size70g ~ 2.5oz
cocoa solids64%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenerbrown sugar
emulsifiersoy lecithin
other ingredients(none)
list price$9.99
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1431
appearancescoring, imprints, smooth
aromaspice (pepper, vanilla), nut, roast (coffee, cocoa), fruit (raisin)
snapmedium hard
tasteroast (cocoa), spice (pepper, vanilla, clove), fruit (berry), nut (almond), sweet (molasses), acidic
finishtannin, somewhat acidic
Unfortunately, Valrhona no longer makes their very good Palmira plantation bar from Venezuela. In its place, Valrhona has another Venezuelan plantation: El Pedregal, which grows Porcelana Criollo cacao for this chocolate.

Cocoa solids made up 64% of El Pedregal, including added cocoa butter. The sweetener for this chocolate was a surprising brown sugar. Soy lecithin was added as an emulsifier. There was also a small amount of vanilla.

The 70 gram bar reviewed here was produced on July 9, 2013, with a best before date of December 2014.

Valrhona scored the bar into 20 uneven pieces. The bar had imprints of the Valrhona logo and name. The surface of the chocolate was impressive, with only minuscule bubbles in some corners.

The chocolate had a medium brown Fudgesickle (PANTONE 19-1431) color. The bar had a medium hard snap.

El Pedregal gave off a spicy roast aroma. Scents included pepper, nut, coffee, cocoa, raisin, and vanilla.

Beginning with a cocoa roast, the taste revealed that peppery spice and some clove. Other flavors included a berry fruit, almond nuttiness, and a molasses sweetness. I also tasted vanilla and a little acidity.

The melt was smooth. The length was long, with the chocolate flavor lasting 40 to 45 seconds after the chocolate was gone. The finish was tannin and somewhat acidic.

Overall, while not as marvelous as some other Porcelana chocolates and sweeter than I'd prefer, I found El Pedregal to be excellent, certainly among the best chocolates with this much sugar.

You can purchase El Pedregal online for $9.99 directly from Valrhona, for $8.95 from World Wide Chocolate, and for $8.99 from Caputo's.

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