El Pedregal Millésime 2013

by Valrhona
Info Details
Country France   
Type Dark   (64% cacáo-content; LP7513190)
Strain Porcelana   
Source Venezuela   
Flavor Sugar   (x Spices/Herbs)
Style Classic      
Valrhona trips Colette with this bar, referring to the French novelist who, in her highly eventful life, freely flouted convention & repeatedly scandalized the public on her way to becoming a national icon.

But unlike her works marked by sensitive observations — particularly of women — & an intimate style, Valrhona chooses distance & artifice in a distorted approach to, this, the empress of cacáo: Porcelana.
Appearance   4.6 / 5
Color: russet cream
Surface: virtual origami-chopstick mold
Temper: dual -- some parts shine, others matte
Snap: little 'quaking death', as in acoustically orgasmic
Aroma   9.3 / 10
chocolate cream supreme with an extinguishing matchstick beneath (talk about flint) & a prunic point embedded deeply within
all fine sublime
aerates an intensely light coral shelf, rimmed in white laurel on the seashore
Mouthfeel   11.4 / 15
Texture: sclerotic
Melt: halting
Flavor   40.6 / 50
brown-sugared chocolate + more soft spices (cinnamon, vanilla, sassafras / root beer) swabbed in cotton balls -> chicory -> light char / ash (somewhat unusual for both the house & the varietal) -> expectant cream -> evanescent strawberry molecular gastronomy foam -> ephemeral star anise -> back roasted peanut as well as cocoa tannin
Quality   14.7 / 20
Twee sweet. A Porcelana overburdened by sugar. The threshold for this gossamer cultivar easily supports 8% to 10% (or more) in cacáo-weight.

Its darkness owes largely to the the use of brown sugar (brown sugar, really?) -- somewhat a heresy when speaking of Porcelana. Ditto the vanilla -- extraneous & superfluous -- & this from a forum that, unlike the Neo-Spartans of Chocolate, advocates the use of vanilla -- when & where warranted. Apparently Valrhona lodges a critique herein that Porcelana is devoid of sufficient flavor & thus needs more than enhancement, it needs prosthetics.

Both brown sugar & vanilla discolor an otherwise delicate profile of intrinsic strawberries 'n cream & macadamia, turning it into a hardened spice rack with peanuts (peanuts in Porcelana?).

To compound the incongruities, Texture further exaggerates Porcelana's often tough concourse (rarely the melting grail of cacáos) with additional butter twerked up toward Beta VI tempering levels.

Though this thankfully comes nowhere near Choklat's vandalism, years of experience under its belt as proprietor of Pedregal Estate in Venezuela, Millésime 2013 nets no significant upgrade over Valrhona's inaugural release of this bar.

A sideways chocolate.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, brown sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin; vanilla CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio): ~3:5:5

Reviewed December 30, 2014


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