Valrhona: EL PEDREGAL PORCELANA BAR Vintage 2014

I do love those Criollo beans. What a shame they make up only 5% of the world’s entire cacao crop.

Valrhona, the company who created one of my all time favorite chocolates: Tainori, builds this Porcelana bar from estate grown beans in Venezuela. The name of the plantation is El Pedregal.

It’s a 64% chocolate with 15 grams of sugar in a 40 gram serving. The color is medium brown, and the texture enhanced with soy lecithin (something I might have omitted). Criollo is the merlot of chocolate, as it has a very lush, smooth, gentle taste profile with hints of honey, vanilla, and fruit. There’s no tannin, leather, soil, or tobacco anywhere in this bar to harsh its mellow. That’s why I think a little less sugar would have enhanced the experience, as well as increasing the cacao content to 70%. Frankly, with a bean this easy to scarf down, why not try an 80%?

Interestingly, they use brown sugar which adds a deeper dimension and enhances the lushness.

Like all Valrhona bars, the temper is just right and the snap an audible reminder of how frequently the French get their beans to sing. They also have great aesthetics, as is obvious from the beautiful trapezoidal shapes into which this bar is divided.

At about $10 for 2.46 ounces, it makes an indulgent little gift for your favorite chocolate aficionado; and, it would be a welcome addition to any chocolate tasting.

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