Friday, January 27, 2006

E. Guittard Single Origin Tasting Kit

I got this fantastic single origin tasting kit from E. Guittard. The photos are deceptive, these are tiny little bars, each is 10 grams (a little over a third of an ounce) and measured a mere 2.5” x 1.25”. There were four different varieties that came in a box of 16 wee bars. What was most stunning about these bars is the packaging. The little labels are lively and elegant with their gold leaf and description of the flavor of the particular varietal. Inside, the foil wrappers were beautiful too, with a delicate pattern featuring an impressive bas relief style scene of heaven knows what with three figures probably worshipping the cocoa bean or something. (The comprehensive press kit and tasting kit brochure made no mention of the scene.)

image

Each of the bars looks slightly different as well (except for the Sur del Lago and Quevedo) from different molds. All bars were 65% cacao, which is a good midrange for dark chocolate, allowing for lots of room for cocoa butter to give a nice fatty background to support the complex flavors.

imageAmbanja - notes from package: You’re in for a rich chocolate experience! Made primarily from rare Criollo beans from the fertile Sambriano Valley in Madagascar, Ambanja mingles sour essences with deep rich, chocolate flavor.

Dark with a slight amber/red tint, this bar was buttery and smooth. There were overwhelming raisin and cherry notes in this bar. It definitely has an acidic tone to it, but not in an unpleasant, bitter or acrid way. It’s really very nice.

imageSur del Lago - notes from package: Complex chocolate flavors underlie subtle hints of red berry fruit. Cacao beans used to make this chocolate were harvested from trees of Criollo and Trinitario heritage in Venezuela’s Sur del Lago region.

This one started out rather woodsy and sour. It reminded me of the zesty smell of piles of fresh sawdust from a fruit tree. Then the other notes started coming out, including the light berries and maybe some grape. It’s pretty mellow and pleasant, but the high sour note is a little odd.

imageChucuri - notes from package: Long, deep, slow chocolate flavors are accented by pleasant hints of spice. The Trinitario cacao beans used to make this chocolate were grown in the San Vicente de Chucuri Valley of Santader in Colombia.

Deep flavors dominate this little bar. It starts out woodsy with some balsam notes of juniper or rosemary. Then it’s got some very strong cherry notes that linger for the rest of the melt on the tongue. It’s got a high little topnote of lavender or maybe it’s bergamot. It gives this bar the best balance of the four.

imageQuevedo notes from package: Quevedo’s extremely dark color forshadows its powerful but flowery chocolate taste. The intensity of this rarefied Forestero varietal produces rich green forest, tea and slight nut flavors with a lingering banana and pound cake finish.

Smooth but with a notable bitter dryness at first. Rich and woodsy with an exceptionally buttery texture that makes it feel almost fluffy and buoyant on the tongue. I’m getting the tea notes, but I’m totally missing the pound cake the wrapper promises.

If you’re looking for single origin chocolate that doesn’t skimp on the cocoa butter and is so dry that it leaves you gasping for water, this might be the stuff. At only 65% cocoa solids, there’s an excellent mix of flavor and texture that’s not too sweet. All of the bars are exceptionally smooth without a hint of grain. Here’s a tip: this would make an excellent Valentine’s Day gift for someone. It’s sensual, educational and you can share it.

You might think you’ve never had Guittard chocolate, when you probably have. Guittard is one of the top chocolate makers in the country, but most of the business is making chocolate for other companies. Guittard makes the excellent chocolate that you find on See’s candies. It’s hard to know who they supply chocolate to, but they’re a huge operation and that chocolate is going somewhere tasty. I don’t see Guittard in the stores very often, except for their baking chips. They’re definitely worth going out of your way for. Most of the varietals from other brands that I’m seeing lately are higher cocoa percentages, so you’re missing out on the cocoa butter, which I think is an equal part of the chocolate experience.

They’re a little pricey directly from E. Guittard’s store, you can also find them at Chocosphere (throw some Dolfin and Dagoba in your cart while you’re there).

Other Reviews: SeventyPercent.com gives Chucuri top marks and here are their reviews of Ambanja, Quevedo and Sur del Lago.

Name: Single Origin Tasting Kit
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: E. Guittard
Place Purchased: sample from E. Guittard
Price: $15.95
Size: 5.64 ounces
Calories per ounce: 142
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:51 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I love this Guittard Chocolate so much I started a whole website and 2 blogs based on it. INCREBILE. The Apeel’s and Melt and Mold are the best candy coating I could find!

    Comment by An Occasional Chocolate on 7/09/06 at 10:14 am #
  2. These guys have some good company ideas. They are growing and there is a good reason!

    Comment by Cheryl on 8/10/06 at 4:30 am #
  3. Trinidad’s Trinitario is among the best cocoa in the world smile If you’re interested in learning more check out this article “Cocoa’s Sweet Feet” smile

    http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/cocoas-sweet-feet-article/

    Take care!

    Comment by The TriniGourmet on 5/24/07 at 2:11 pm #
  4. I have had the mini’s before. I love the sur de lago. I loved the flavor of it.

    Comment by Shannon on 1/23/08 at 5:25 am #

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