Valrhona 2002 Chuao Chocolate Bar

If there is one go-to chocolate bar in our entire store, it is the Valrhona 2002 Chuao dark chocolate bar.

Valrhona 2002 Chuao Chocolate BarLooking for something delicate? Try Valrhona’s Chuao Bar from 2002. Looking for something with perfect, silky body? Try Valrhona’s 2002 cru bar from the Chuao valley in Venezuela. In the mood for understated yet superb balance of flavors? Why not the I suggest the 2002 Chuao Chocolate Bar by Valrhona? Looking for the perfect, brilliant mirror, crisp snap, lovely fragrance? Try Valrhona 2002 Chuao Chocolate Bar. Does eating one of the best freaking chocolate bars on the face of the earth strike your fancy? Valrhona 2002 Chuao cru chocolate bar.

Just want a dark chocolate bar that is super freaking yummy? Valrhona 2002 Chuao chocolate bar.

So, imagine my reaction to reading Bill Buford‘s encomium to Frederick Schilling, founder of Dagoba Organic Chocolate, printed in this week’s New Yorker.

Buford writes: “Some bars have a harvest year. I got one from an Internet supplier, a 2002, made from ChuaoValley beans in Venezuela, three years past its sell-by date. Suspecting a gimmick, I ate it to confirm its staleness. I was surprised. It seemed fresher than the other bars I’d bought.”

“Seemed fresher?” That’s it? Buford bites into a piece of chocolate making history, and his comment is, “seemed fresher?” What the hell…

I love Buford as much as the next guy, but his economy of words here comes at the expense of his readers. One wonders if Buford, eating a seven course meal at Le Bernardin, summarizes the experience with, “Seemed Eric Ripert used fish.”

The quality of Chuao chocolate stems from the convergence of a variety of advantageous conditions, including soil, climate, and a remoteness that has prevented the invasion of lesser cultivation practices and lesser strains of Theobroma cacao. I know of only three ways to eat chocolate from the legendary Chuao region at the top of the Aragua valley in the north of Venezuela. The Bonnat Chuao single origin dark chocolate bar (75% cacao), the Amedei Chuao single origin dark chocolate bar (70% cacao), and Valhrona’s Chuao bar released way back in 2003.

Several months back I attended a blind chocolate tasting organized by Nick Zukin (who blogs Extramsg – Portland Food, Restaurant, and Market Guide, and who is also a co-founder of the “It’s-about-time-Portland-got-a-great-Jewish-deli” Kenny & Zukes Delicatessen). About 50 dark chocolates were tasted, including all three Chuao bars, all grouped together anonymously (we weren’t told they were the Chuao bars). About 20 chocolate professionals from all walks of Chocolate life in Portland were assembled. (Really, Nick, that was a cool event.)

Afterwards, we turned our notes in to Nick and then shared our thoughts amongst ourselves. Informally, at least, it was clear that the Chuao plates were rated the highest by the largest contingent of the tasters, though there were some wild and rugged chocolate bars by Steve DeVries that also held sway. While I had always assumed the Amedei Chuao bar would whop the others–it is nearly twice the price and enjoys major international celebrity status to boot–AT LEAST HALF of the Chuao fans settled on the Valrhona’s 2002 cru Chuao 65% dark chocolate bar as their favorite of the entire event.

I could spill a lot of ink on the subject, but because I am mainly writing this because I want to dance merrily on a few picked-apart words by a famous and talented writer, and for the sake of keeping harmony with myself, I’ll stick my notes posted on our website: “Perfect mirror to the surface of the bar, not the slightest hint of bloom or age. Crisp snap, and then the aromas come out! Caramels, spices, a miraculous hint of banana, and a long, long complex finish. In terms of vintage, this knocks the socks off Valhrona’s 2001.” Sadly, I don’t have any 2001 on hand, but it would be interesting to see if the 2001 cru bar seems fresh.

One Response to “Valrhona 2002 Chuao Chocolate Bar”

  1. on 13 Nov 2007 at 6:23 pmJessica "Su Good Sweets"

    Hi Mark, I love your writing. I’ll have to try this bar, since I’m a huge fan of Valrhona and Venezuelan chocolate.

Trackback URI | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply