Amano Chuao Reserve 70%

By now, you know I am a fan of Art Pollard’s chocolates. Not only do I love the quintessentially adult flavor profiles, I also am drawn in by the miniature paintings that adorn each shiny black box. Though presentation is not a sine qua non to enjoying the actual product, it does make a difference as it sets us up for what’s to come. Someone who cares enough to package their wares decoratively is likely to be the same person who takes extra care with the contents.

This 70% Reserve Chuao bar, made from Venezuelan Criollo cacao, lives up to the Amano name. Criollo beans comprise only 1% of the world’s cacao crop because they require extra care and are more susceptible to disease. Among chocophiles Criollos are renowned for delivering a sumptuous, nuanced experience.

Amano’s Chuao doesn’t disappoint. The bar is superbly tempered, the texture creamy, and the flavor harmoniously blends coffee, dark berries, and plum with enough after-images of terroir to take it all up more than a few notches. If you can resist immediately taking another bite, you’ll notice the long, slightly dry finish. Like all of Art’s bars, a few small squares will sate your chocolate craving; but, like a little gastronomic sleuth, you may want to sample more to fully glean the beautiful complexity of this rare treat.

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