Box Chocolate Review

Cluizel

Info Details
Country France   
Style Neo-Modern      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
JFK once lamented that life can be unfair. Cluizel starts with a distinctively huge advantage: its own in-house couverture (it is, after all, one of the best ‘bean-to-bar’ makers in the world). Highly-refined without being sterilized or stylized – Neo-Modern with Classic overtones. No wow in the box like silly, fancy transfers (even though Cluizel pioneered the technique). Just beauty & poise, starting with an amazing chocolate-1st-aroma wafting out of the box. Even bar-only junkies will chocolate up & main line these bad-boy inspired acts of love & passion. Cluizel sets the benchmark for the combined category of bars & bonbons. An All-World Magician.
Presentation   4.6 / 5
nary a smudge or bubble; perfect plate shines on the molds, soft matte on the hand-dips, picture finishes from piped gianduja to burnished 24K gold; even the cups are color-coordinated to the pieces…you just want to jump in
Aromas   4.7 / 5
earth & rainforest, raspberry, caramel & cream…all natural notes sans even a whiff of packing paper
Textures/Melt   8.9 / 10
Shells: real pleasure chocolate... sharp snap to the teeth & precisely balanced percentage blends for each separate fill type & flavor
Centers: pralines are like eating velvet; fillings are grain free; each a good 1.5 to 2 minutes - slow, sexy, & steady - to meltdown.
Flavor   44.8 / 50
pure, purer, & purest; crisp, clean, playful, & intense w/out being overdriven – deft & subtle to bang-on; no need for the guide book enclosed; multi-faceted / layered flavors in even the simplest fillings; the only downturn / stumble: the more complex mixtures (old saw: ‘the more complicated the filling, the more unbalanced the flavor’... some ancient 1970’s recipes just lack the balance…too many flavors spoil the bonbon)
Quality   26.2 / 30
Better than most artisan bars. Hand crafted to bring out the best in each plantation & harvest.
Selections
Couverture: in-house
99% Ganache - a darkside lover’s wet dream….. “Luke, I am your Father”; as dark as you can go without getting ground into coffee bitters; chocolate alchemy
Figaro - vanilla & hazelnut gianduja w/ 68% blend-base platform: soft hazelnut butter (not a grain or granule in the paste) w/ mind-incinerating dark hand-dipped base; vanilla permeates the sinus cavity to completion…fab
Salted Butter Caramel – a novel could be written on this… layers, notes, complexity; old school w/ surprise sea salt backing caramel (circa 20 years ahead of its time); fruit-forward Milk Chocolate (some Criollo there?), heavy cream w/ spring grass notes, mineral sea salt finish, & flavors lasting longer than most 72% bars; jump on this
Framboise - 1mm thick, 72% shell w/ sharp, clean snap yields the tartest raspberry going; long, smooth melt harmonized between shell/coverture & filling; no goopie fondant mess hall…just sex in a bonbon
Cluizel Signature – the vaunted single-estate Los Ancones 72% w/ matching ganache; gloss-top finish; another1mm shell caves into hearty earth, loam, light tangerine front/slight mineral back; unlike most ganaches, cream never overpowers or changes flavor of the chocolate: it’s a textural thing
Cherry Bomb – ignited by brandy fuel; dives right down ready to drown, then mercifully straightens up & out
Éclats de Cacáo (Chocolate-covered Cocoa Nibs) - comes in medicinal vial but nothing prescription-strength here; taste sicker than off-shore generic drugs from undeveloped debtor countries; sugar pellets – so weak & diluted – even watery - maybe they’re homeopathic; a rare stumble
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