Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: Valrhona Guanaja

Richard's Rating: 7.5
chocolate makerValrhona
cacao treesCriollo, Trinitario
size70g ~ 2.5oz
cocoa solids70%
added fatcocoa butter
emulsifiersoy lecithin
flavoringvanilla extract
other ingredients(none)
list price$7.49
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1314
Seal Brown
appearancescoring, imprints, smooth
aromaroast (smoke, tobacco, coffee), spice fruit, earth
snapmedium hard
tasteroast (coffee, cocoa, smoke, tobacco), fruit (blueberry, mango, citrus), nut (almond)
meltmore smooth
finishsomewhat acidic, somewhat tannin, slightly bitter
Guanaja was named for the island where Christopher Columbus landed off the coast of Honduras in 1502. This chocolate was made from a blend of Criollo and Trinitario cacao.

Valrhona's recipe for this chocolate contained 70% cocoa solids: cacao beans plus added cocoa butter. Other ingredients were sugar, soy lecithin, and vanilla extract.

Unfortunately, I did not photograph this 70 gram bar. Inside a paper box, it was wrapped in brass colored foil. The bar was made on September 18, 2013, and had a best before date of January 2015.

The bar was scored into 20 uneven pieces and had imprints of the Valrhona logo and name. The surface looked great, as is typical for Valrhona quality.

Guanaja had a medium brown Seal Brown (PANTONE 19-1314) color. The snap was medium hard.

A strong smoky roast gave a vague unpleasantness to the aroma of this chocolate. The roast scent contained tobacco and coffee as well. Spice, fruit, and earth were also present.

The taste began with an initial roast of coffee, cocoa, smoke, and tobacco that had none of the unpleasantness of the aroma. Guanaja soon revealed interesting fruit flavors of blueberry, mango, and citrus, along with an almond nuttiness. The result was a delicious combination.

The melt was more smooth. The flavor after the chocolate was gone lasted about 35 to 40 seconds, giving a medium length. The final aftertaste was somewhat acidic, somewhat tannin, and slightly bitter.

You can purchase Guanaja online for $7.49 directly from Valrhona, for $6.95 from World Wide Chocolate, and for $6.99 from Caputo's.

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