Friday, March 25, 2011

Valrhona Palmira 2009 Dark Chocolate Bar

The Dark Chocolate Blog takes on vintage chocolate with a tasting of the 2009 Valrhona Palmira:

Manufacturer: Valrhona
Cocoa Content: 64%
Location: Venezuela
Manufacturer Website
Rating: B+

Today's tasting is the 2009 vintage of the Valrhona Palmira. The Palmira Estates where these criollo beans are grown is located near Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, the home of some of the world’s finest cacao. The Palmira is an orange-mahogany in color. The nose is on the lighter side with some aromas of earthy chocolate.

The first impression on the palate is sweet chocolate with herbal (mint in particular) and earthy notes. Acidity slowly builds, along with nuttiness and roasted flavors. Acidity leads to notes of citrus and sour cherries. There are roasted notes of roast cashews and medium-roast coffee along with some notable earthiness. Chewing the Palmira opens up cherries, leather and earth notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with some cooling sensation. The finish has coffee, cherry pie, mint and nuts.

I have some mixed feelings about the Valrhona Palmira. On one hand, there is a wealth of complexity in this chocolate bar. But on the other hand, there is a notable lack of rich chocolate flavor. It may well be that I am experiencing this chocolate past its prime as this is the 2009 vintage. Still, this chocolate does show a lot of promise for vintaged single-origin chocolate. I'll be curious to see how more recent vintages compare to this one.

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