A few weeks ago, at a wonderful chocolate tasting hosted by Premier Gourmet, I got a chance to meet the charming and knowledgeable Raphael Casteau from Valrhona. Not surprisingly, his bars outshone everything else. After sampling the memorable Alpaco and Tainori, I had to buy some to leisurely taste at home.
Eight different chocolates comprise this Grand Cru line, two milk, at 33 and 40%, and six dark ranging between 64-85%.
How often does the description on a wrapper promise to deliver a fruity experience and you wonder if they ate the same chocolate you did? That won’t be a problem here, as these bars deliver exactly what you are primed, by their copy, to expect. For the tasting, each 70 gram bar was on sale at $4.99 (I believe they usually retail for $6.99). Their shape is a bit unusual: flat, relatively thin, and beautifully scored into abstract trapezoidal pieces of varying sizes, unlike anything else I have ever seen. The almost square shape, at 4″ x 4 1/2″, is different and visually appealing. Matte black boxes with shiny, foil-like writing and art come in different colors for each of the Grand Cru chocolates.
Valrhona knows how to temper chocolate to a snappy, glossy indulgence that is satisfying on every level. Alpaco is floral and oaky, slightly bitter with low acid. It’s a bar for all circumstances, and moods. At 66% the intensity is gentled from its creamy texture and those lovely floral notes.
Tainori, is fruity. While I might not call it intense, as they do, I would certainly vouch for its ability to completely sate your chocolate cravings.
Talking about fruity or floral notes can sometimes be misconstrued to mean simple, or so mild that it borders on boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both these bars are absolutely delicious and provide plenty of complexity.
Even though they are 70 and not 100 grams, their design makes them seem larger. And, as we all know, when something is that satisfying, a little goes a long way.
I highly recommend them, as each is unique and worth the investment.