Info Details
Country Italy   
Type Flavored   (Hazelnuts; Milk Chocolate)
Strain Criollo   (Old Red Ceylon?)
Source Sri Lanka   (Mathale; 2007 Harvest)
Flavor Crossover   
Style New School      (w/ Classic beauty)
Portrait of a Woman (surmised to be Lucrezia Borgia) by Bartolomeo Veneto

Celestial Ambrosia as a Roman Candle... that transforms Ceylon’s holy cacáo into what fellow Italian Lucrezia Borgia -- the hazel-eyed daughter of that libertine Pope Alexander VI -- might call an ‘immoral pleasure’. So good it could be illicit. Enticing as this bodacious Italian TV talk show hostess:

WTF?!? Oprah? Rosie? Dr. Phil? Piers Morgan? Oops, forgot The View! Sorry, but once again American TV with 60+ "reality game shows," "self-help," "prosperity theology," & 24-7-360 soundbiting feels of complete blather next to this wholesome C-rocket. Bet even Canada has it better.
Appearance   4.9 / 5
Color: gorgeous terra cotta
Surface: porous & crystallized
Temper: matte
Snap: breaks the subsonic barrier deep into the cochlea (the spiral-shaped cavity of the inner ear)
Aroma   9.7 / 10
oh, those golden Valcasotto hazelnuts from the Piedmont, unctuously decadent oil of massage parlor quality flowing over vanilla ice-cream
Mouthfeel   14.6 / 15
Texture: pure butter fleshpile
Melt: instantly automatic; no claw marks (RE: astringency) whatsoever
Flavor   49.1 / 50
red glow (esp raspberry & rhubarb) wraps around condensed hazelnut paste in a corona -> fruit-laden Milk Choc (sweet & sublime) -> royal black mulberry ‘n vanilla tango -> nut meat essense -> hibiscus plume cracks the door open to an immaculate marshmallow ascension
Quality   19.3 / 20
Too good. Truly, to use an overly abused word, 'awesome'. A-1 ingredients seamlessly integrated in a cohesive super-structure.

Bessone has demonstrated elsewhere in his Boxed Chocolates some exceptional work in the gianduja category. This unbelievably & amazingly surpasses even that peak standard. Basically his Gianduiotti Classic bombone with a bit more chocolate backbone.

The Ceylon Red cacáo is stupendous in this match, carrying those exclusive reserve red notes, making wine & chocolate pairings redundant & redonkuloitus. Ditto (almost) the hazelnuts since the Ceylon already inflects with resident hazelnut tones which this just gorgeously amplifies... & then some.

If there’s even the most remote & minute criticism - & this merely straining in order to find fault & walk back the praise some – it possibly may be the tiniest fraction of excess sugar. Or better yet, change the plastic wrapper on this & all of Bessone's bars for that matter (which creates some unsightly & off-putting plastic-wrapper transfer onto them). Otherwise, as the glyph formerly known as ‘Prince’ sang in Raspberry Beret... ‘baby I wouldn’t change a stroke’.

Given the rather average bar work in the rest of Bessone’s portfolio begs whether this deserves such a lofty position in the chocolate pantheon. That an inconsistent micro-processor who has hardly made a mark is controversial enough; but for a Flavored bar to sit at, or even near, the pinnacle is downright scandalous, even sacrilegious.

Maybe this bar represents the fruit of Silvio Bessone's labor in struggling thru all his other bars in climbing the trellis of the rankings to attain this achievement.

So while justice must be blind, that doesn’t mean she lacks a sense of taste. This has to be judged for what it is, on its own merits: one of the greatest confections, dare say ‘chocolate bars’, on Earth.

“Let justice triumph, even if the world perishes by it” - Kant

ING: cocoa mass, hazelnuts, sugar, cacáo butter, milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla

Reviewed Autumn 2009


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