Friday, October 29, 2010

Michel Cluizel 1er Cru de Plantation Hacienda "Vila Gracinda"

Manufacturer: Michel Cluizel
Cocoa Content: 65%
Location: Sao Tome
Manufacturer Website
Rating: B

Today's tasting is the "Vila Gracinda" 67% dark chocolate bar from Michel Cluizel's 1er Cru de Plantation line of single-source chocolates. The Vila Gracinda is ebony-purple in color. It hits the palate with a rich chocolate/cocoa flavor. Smoky, roasted coffee notes are here. A bitter nuttiness of hazelnuts and chestnuts are here as well. The acidity level is fairly light but does lend itself to a bit of an orange peel flavor. Woody/earthy notes and some vanilla are also detectable.

Chewing the Vila Gracinda brings forward sweet notes of vanilla, honey, bourbon and toffee. As is typical for Cluizel's fare, the mouthfeel is perfectly smooth and creamy. The finish has cream & sugar coffee with nutty and earthy undertones.

While this is a good chocolate, the Vila Gracinda doesn't quite meet the high mark set by some of the other chocolates in Michel Cluizel's 1er Cru de Plantation line. While tasty, I did find this bar to be relatively straightforward. It seems like it could use a bit more acidity to open up. If you try the Vila Gracinda, pop a piece in your mouth and give it a good chew. The sweet flavors that open up are what I enjoyed the most about this chocolate bar.

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