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Chuao

by Malmö Chokladfabrik
Info Details
Country Sweden   
Type Dark   (70%; Harvest 2010)
Strain Criollo   (extended family)
Source Venezuela   (Chuao Valley)
Flavor Naked   
Style Classic      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Acidity
Bitterness
Roast
Intensity
Complexity
Structure
Length
Impact
Some will snortle over a Swedish confectionary giant proffering Chuao, considered by many the most hallowed of all cacáo grounds. Beyond the encroachment of a candy company treading into craft chocolate territory, it smacks of sacrilege.

Well, Swedes historically have shown deference, even reverence, to chocolate culture.

In 1741 the Swedish botanist Carl Von Linné (Linnaeus) wrote a monograph on chocolate titled, appropriately, Om Chokladdryken. A decade later he christened the tree from which all chocolate derives Theobroma cacao (a literal translation of Greek meaning 'god-food').

By 1888, Malmö, the imprint behind this Chuao, started batching its first chocolate bars using tried 'n true traditional methods.

In that spirit, just about every facet of this release exudes a certain olde-worlde nostalgia, right down to the cargo-stamp font & the quais-ancient mariner map on the wrapper choc full of factoids in a modernized update (click image at right to enlarge). Details of which are discussed further, particularly in the Quality section, below.

All could be dismissed as mere smoke & mirrors -- slick packaging & marketing that rule 21st century branding -- were it not for the contents within that this manufactory delivers. Surprise: no real surprise there. Malmö, after all, deftly handled those Beniano gems from Bolivia under a private-label arrangement for Bojesen & the acclaimed Oialla bar. It therefore knows cacáo, fine cacáos, & the requirements to transform them into great chocolate.

Respect for the seed, a tradition for high standards, plus a national lineage to Linnaeus who claimed that thru taking chocolate he cured himself of hemorrhoids. Hmmm... maybe sumthin to do with the soothing effects of cocoa butter on the buttocks which Malmö re-supplies in ample amounts with this Chuao.
Appearance   4.3 / 5
Color: ruby brown
Surface: carefully handled
Temper: regal reserve
Snap: understated
Aroma   9.1 / 10
another evocative offering from Malmö

whereas its Ecuador stood for a pop-up bakery shoppe, this Venzy heads for the dairy case, past the fermented yoghurts, kefirs, buttermilks, cheese.... & straight for the fresh full-fat milks, creams & butters;
on the way out it grabs deep cocoa, copal, leather & tobac

the generalized countenance a little strange for this particular origin (redolent more of Lake Maracaibo than Chuao); none of the tell-tale blueberry for instance

rich nonetheless, especially when an apricot apparition shows
Mouthfeel   12 / 15
Texture: slightly waxen with a minute Nibs fraction
Melt: initial lurch evens out smoothly to voluptuous roundness
Flavor   47.2 / 50
instant chocolate attack -> cream with rubber / wax backing, the latter quickly dissipates into mildly tannic cocoa, by now the profile fully formed & known, just deeper, escorted by a dark date -> roasted malabar chestnut (breathless), pretty simple & stunning in its impact -> fudge brownie finish
Quality   17.9 / 20
A rarefied Chuao, in league with the sequestered seed lots gleaned in Bonnat's Chuao Village & the remote outlier of them all -- Domori's Paria Chuao. These as a class swerve away from the typical Chuao prowess of big bold fruit & sweeteners (usually blueberry / molasses) for a more streamlined cococa-cream tone. As such, some may misconstrue this bar as a bit void owing to a biased preconception or their own vacuity that requires blaring notes. It's anything but, & draws parallels to Amedei's much ballyhooed misnomer Blanco de Criollo, except this accomplishes a similar character without the force of vanilla.

In its stead, Malmö employs unrefined cane sugar &, still, low-to-no molasses residues which remain in unrefined sugar tinges the aromas here.

Three key parameters drive the flavor:
1. The ferment ripened if not with lactic acid cheese-funk & vomit, then at least lactates with bottle-ready milkiness. Extra cocoa butter, a house specialty of Malmö to rival the iconic French makers (Pralus, Morin, Bonnat, Cluizel, et. al.), addles the effect.
2. A not-too-impartial medium-light drum roast +...
3. A long warm conche (at elevated temperature according to the barsmith).
Together they generate those all-inviting pyrazine compounds that elicit the cocoa / brownie / fudge / chocolate embers.

Now about those details mentioned earlier -- the entire file includes location right down to the precise GPS coordinates (10º 31' 07' N, 67º 32' 44' W), vintage (2010), & elevation (200-400m), the last a tip to some looser points such as Criollo (let's call it part of the extended family). The overall cache of info however joins ranks with Fresco, Taza, & Hotel de Chocolat in their replete datasets.

Transparency in flavor & its formation. The world of premium chocolate continues to grow a little less murky.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed October 3, 2013

  

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