Last night, a friend was looking for a dark chocolate with nuts. She went to the grocery store and found the Valrhona 66% Caraibe Noisette, which has split hazelnuts. I used to carry the Caraibe bar (sans hazelnuts) so she knew the brand and figured it would taste good knowing the company has a good reputation for quality. So I was surprised when she was telling me that it was one of the worst tasting bars she has ever had!
We brought out the bar to sample it. The pieces of hazelnut are throughout the bar, which is good, but they are chopped pretty small. As you take a piece of the chocolate it gives a soft break instead of a firm snap. The aroma? It doesn’t have the wonderful aroma of the Caribbean that brought me back to the islands like the single origin Caraibe bars I recently had as a part of our chocolate selection. The bar melts quickly as you eat it and gives no flavor like the previous single origin bar, which had coffee and tropical fruit notes. The small pieces of hazelnut are lost in the transaction and end up getting stuck in my teeth instead of adding to the experience. There is an odd, unpleasant aftertaste that remains in my mouth for a good 5 minutes after eating the chocolate.
Maybe it’s something in the ingredients. Let’s take a quick peek, shall we?
cocoa beans, sugar, hazelnuts (15%), cocoa butter, concentrated butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla extract
That’s one thing that is making a big difference. Concentrated butter, which is also known as butterfat. Instead of using all cocoa butter Valrhona is using a lower quality, cheaper fat in this chocolate bar, which is definitely changing the taste and texture. I don’t know what else they are cutting back on, but this one is readily apparent. For the price they are asking for this bar, we are not getting a break for these cheaper ingredients. Just a bad chocolate bar.
Looking for quality, all natural chocolate? Check out our current selection at Drexelius Chocolates!