Fine Chocolate Reviews

Amano 70% Chuao Reserve Dark Chocolate

(photo by EverJean)

2009 Academy of Chocolate awards – Most Promising New Bean To Bar Chocolate Maker

“The name “Chuao” is spoken with reverence. It symbolizes the world’s most coveted cocoa and its source. For centuries, the farmers of Chuao have faithfully grown this native Venezuelan criollo cocoa. They ritually harvest and ferment the beans, then sun-dry them in front of their historic church. Once they reach us, we gently hand roast and stone grind them, turning this exalted cocoa into one of the world’s finest chocolates. It is pure passion, pure tradition, pure love – pure Chuao.” (description on the bar)

Tasting Notes: Plums, blueberries, blackberries, molasses, coffee, almonds. (source)

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, Pure cane sugar, Cocoa butter, Whole vanilla beans.

Amano Chuao reviews

20°N & 20°S (Candice Alström)

“It’s kind of amazing tasting blueberries on chocolate. It’s so distinctive. The plums were there and the almonds were very subtle and a little toasted but I didn’t find molasses on this bar. Just a softer, sweet bar of chocolate with lovely blueberries. There isn’t a whole lot of subtleties with this bar. It’s pretty straight forward despite being delicate in it’s flavors.

Overall, I like the Chuao bars that I have tasted so far. I don’t think it’s by far the best bar of chocolate I have ever tasted though. I think there is way too much hype around Chuao and Criollo beans. But that’s not to say this isn’t fantastic chocolate. It’s pretty damn good bar and those blueberries are amazing.”

01.2011, Candice Alström

Seventy percent

“(…) [C]ertainly one of the best Chuao interpretations I’ve tried. It’s not too bold or over-roasted, not at all flat, the full fruit flavour is there and you’re taken on a fantastic chocolate journey with each piece. Yet this is still a very accessible chocolate.”
“Personally, some chocolate just makes me really happy inside when I try it. In this case, the big smile was back.”
06.2010, Martin Christy

Seventy percent (Alex Rast, Stuart Robson)

“An interesting mix of flavours with the overall impression being of elegance and poise which in many ways can be considered a departure from the often publicised character of Chuao. With such an obviously more delicate roast on display, this bar is bound to divide opinion. In the end it will come down to a preference between the more deeply roasted expressions of Amedei and, to an even greater extent Pralus, or this more delicate and arguably complex take on the origin. I often favour a lighter treatment and as such believe Amano have produced a very fine bar here and, if not fully realised quit yet, a reference for what can be achieved when a lighter touch is applied to these famous beans. Amano always seem to improve on the early releases of their bars and as such, I am really looking forward to tasting a future batch of this.”
02.2011, Stuart Robson
“(…)in fairness this is in the category of “vague disappointment”: clearly this wasn’t a total mistake but rather a series of minor mistakes. One feels like a light hand at the roast didn’t give the flavour enough development, and that a probably longish conche combined with a low cocoa butter percentage acted to flatten out what was left. There’s every reason to expect Amano will improve this with subsequent runs, but for the moment it is perhaps the one Chuao not to rush out and buy right away.”
10.2010, Alex Rast

Chocolate Reviews

“The aroma is intensely bitter with a burnt would and molasses complexion with slight tobacco notes. This aromatic experience is far more comprehensive than any other dark chocolate around the 70% level I’ve tried for a good while. It’s very intoxicating indeed.”
“As was hinted by the aroma, this chocolate is intense beyond the ratio of cocoa used. There are definite fruit flavours which were knitted together at the lower level of the taste range by an acidic, alcoholic top range. It sort of reminded me of summer’s picnic in a hay field eating dark red/blue fruit – there’s a sort of aridness to it but balanced with a cutting plum taste.”
07.2010, Lee McCoy

One Golden Ticket

“[W]e were both a little disappointed by Amano’s Chuao bar, having had high expectations from this respected chocolate maker using top quality beans. We both ranked this bar in our respective top 10, but it was noticeably below the other Chuaos we’ve tasted.”

Mostly about Chocolate

“Not an unfair treatment of the Chuao bean but not the best example.”
09.2010, Judith Lewis

Chocolate Ratings

“Amano’s Chuao doesn’t disappoint. The bar is superbly tempered, the texture creamy, and the flavor harmoniously blends coffee, dark berries, and plum with enough after-images of terroir to take it all up more than a few notches. If you can resist immediately taking another bite, you’ll notice the long, slightly dry finish. Like all of Art’s bars, a few small squares will sate your chocolate craving; but, like a little gastronomic sleuth, you may want to sample more to fully glean the beautiful complexity of this rare treat.”

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