A collection of bars from Venezuela, offering a range of flavours depending on the region the beans are grown, giving it a versatile range of flavours to be discovered from the range of bars. Woody, earthy to red and blue fruits, to more mellow peach and apricot as well as nutty notes can all be found in the beans grown here.
Dandelion Mantuano Venezuela. A beautiful bar of chocolate from San Francisco in Dandelion factory. Made from cocoa beans from a female-run co-operative on the Caribbean coast of Venezuela, roasted at high heats for a short time to get a super intense chocolate experience. Smooth, without being overly sweet as the roast really comes through the bar. I was getting notes of espresso beans, this would be delicious paired with an after-dinner coffee. My parents are heading to San Francisco so I have already requested that they go on the Dandelion factory tour and fill their suitcases with these fabulous bars.
Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Dark Chocolate 77% With Cardamom. One of the most beautifully packed and moulded chocolates I’ve ever seen. I really like the mould which was nice and crisp and with an Aztec type feel. The green vibrant flavour from the cardamom with the creamy oh so creamy chocolate was a thing of beauty. A fabulous bar and looking forward to trying much more from this Budapest producer.
Idilio Origins– Caranero Urratia Superior 72%. Idilio is a Swiss company based in Basel who pride themselves in seeking out rare Criollo cocoa bean varieties to produce for their chocolate. I hadn’t come across them before so excited to give them a go. They determine the optimal roasting and conching time for each variety of bean. The result is an award-winning range of single plantation bars each made from a single bean variety. A delightfully creamy bar with slight citrus and robust flavour and acidity, which makes it an interesting eat with different layers of flavour.
Utopick 40% Venezuela, I picked up a selection of origin and flavoured bars when I visited in September for my 30th celebrations in Valencia. This is the second bar I tried from them and loved for milk chocolate the deep level of flavour this bar had but as well as a light herbal flavour similar to mint without the cooling effect. A beautifully complex bar that develops.
Ara Chocolat, Rio Caribe 70%, Another bar picked up as a souvenir on my travels to Paris. Ara is a stop on the food tour that my friend Marine is a guide for and was on my visit list when I visited her in January. Whilst in the shop we had their vegan chocolate mousse made with water, which was as rich and decadent as any cream-based mousse I’ve ever had. This bar had a slightly savoury note and a fudgy note for a grown-up bar whilst being incredible moreish, as well as reminding me of a solid version of their mousse.
Ara, La Sabana 70%. The packaging for Ara is meant to highlight the animals and flora that is supported by the cocoa trees growing in that area. The growing of cocoa tends to be under threat for farmers to grow quicker producing crops that are less prone to diseases and smaller yields. A gorgeous little award-winning bar from Paris, a Gold World Chocolate awards 2016. Unfortunately, there was some sugar bloom but that’s probably down to me moving around a bit. BUT the 70% La Sabana Bar which is made with such rare beans from Venezuela, which you can only buy it directly from their Parisian shop. The chocolate has a fruity flavour at the beginning that melted into a rich chocolate brownie flavour. A treat to have tried such limited beans.
Raven Chocolate 80% Venezuelan, Salted Peanut and Mint. These mini bars are a great way for a taste of Raven’s chocolate, one origin and two flavoured bars. All using Venezuelan chocolate, first the 80% a rich chocolate brownie cocoa flavour, I can see why they have chosen this chocolate for their bases too. Next, the Salted Peanut, nuggets of buttery peanuts with flakes of salt for that delicious sweet-savoury mix. Lastly, the Mint bar, the refreshing cooling burst of mint oil against the rich chocolate, a nice balance.
Chocolate bars have almost become souvenirs of my travels in recent years, which I think you can agree are much more fun collecting than the usual tat you pick up at the airport. Amedei Tuscany, not only made by one of the few chocolate producers in Italy but by a woman, Cecilia Tessieri (the only woman in the world to claim the title of Chocolatier) who’s love of chocolate has driven her to make some of the finest bean to bar chocolate around. I picked up the following bar up in a deli in Bologna when I was last visiting and was excited by its clean lines and design. For a high cocoa solid bar, there may be a misconception that this bar would be a rather punchy flavour and a bit of an acquired taste. However, this is definitely not the case with this Chuao 70% bar. Delightfully fruity notes, with a softly rounded mouthfeel with a richness that lingers and continues to open out and develop on the palate. A masterpiece of a bar, where the beans and care of the marker really shine through.
Have you tried any chocolate from Venezuela?
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