Back in March, I wrote about the TCHO beta bars I received through Blake Makes. I commented on how TCHO used a flavor wheel to describe all of the different flavors in the bars: chocolatey, citrus, fruity, floral, nutty, and earthy. I wasn’t sold on that method and I’m still not. However, after receiving three different Amano bars, all of which were 70% cacao content, I better understand the need for some kind of new taste description system.
While all three bars contained the same ingredients (cocoa beans, pure cane sugar, cocoa butter, and whole Tahitian vanilla pods) and the same cacao percentage, the beans for each bar came from different places. The taste difference was huge.
After the break, my comments on each bar.
The Three Bars
Ocumare: Ocumare De La Costa is a remote valley on the central coast of Venezuela. The type of cacao it is known for is called crillo. The package says it’s fruity and floral. Both Jonathan and I thought it had an olive flavor. The best thing about this chocolate and its brother and sister (yes, I just assigned the other bars sexes) is that as you hold it in your mouth, more and more flavors emerge.
Cuyagua: Cuyagua is another valley in Venezuela. Amano tells us that this bar has an “incredible complex chocolate flavor with natural flavor notes of spices, fruit.” I’d have to second that comment on complexity. It’s rich and smooth like you want chocolate to be, but also spicy and bitter and sweet all at the same time.
Madagascar: This bar is made from beans that originated in Venezuela and were transported to Madagascar. The package says it’s a “mild chocolate flavor, accented with citrus.” The Madagascar bar was my favorite. It is quite citrusy – so much so, that as I sucked on it, it actually made my mouth pucker.
Which Amano Bar Would I Recommend?
All three. I mean that literally. Don’t just get one – get all three so that you can see what a difference a bean makes. It’s fascinating.
Are You Writing About This to Tell Us You Are Making Another Chocolate Cupcake?
I am not writing about this to tell you I am making another chocolate cupcake. I was given three bars and wanted to use them all for a very important purpose – eating! I didn’t want use these bars in a cupcake because I wanted to savor the chocolate all to itself.
Amano has, however, started selling bulk chocolate for baking! I may have to get my hands on some of that!
In the meantime, I did the second best thing I could do and made a tres leches cupcake dedicated to Venezuela, the home of all of these great beans.