This was a nice surprise. I was contacted by the awesome Amano people about tasting the Chuao bar. I told them I actually had it already for review They sent me chocolate anyway. And with that was a bar of Cuyagua and a box of their 12 piece truffles using various spices and different chocolates such as Ocumare, Dos Rios, Guayas, and Madagascar.
I love this life.
Cocoa Beans, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder (Ocumare Milk and White), and Whole Vanilla Beans
Cream, Whole Milk, Glucose, Butter, Honey, Raspberries, Lime, Tangerine, Vanilla, Salt, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Pecans, Yuzu, Lemon Juice, Morello cherries, Morello cherry juice, Citric acid, Sugar, Invertase.
Click this entry to view the reviews and details of these truffles.
Raspberry ganache with Guayas chocolate and a white chocolate shell.
Rich raspberry flavor. Tangy and tart and then smoothed out by the soft and mellow Guayas (Ecuador) chocolate. The white chocolate gives it a nice creamy finish. As some who isn't a big fan of white chocolate, the white chocolate added a really nice balance. It starts out big, fruity, and tart and then a light bitter hint from the chocolate but still smooth and mellow chocolate, and then its finished off with the creamy white chocolate.
Cardamom and pepper ganache with Dos Rios Chocolate.
Dos Rios (Dominican Republic), is to this day, the only bar of chocolate that has received a score of 100 on the aroma. The aroma on this bar is so big and so pretty with big notes of bergamot and lavender. It's wonderful chocolate and my favorite from Amano.
This truffle smelled like Dos Rios and pepper and not dominated by the cardamom. At least on the surface. Biting into it it's bitter and spicy. Spicy cardamom and bergamot flavors, the cardamom over takes the pepper though. This is a flavor fight between cardamon and bergamot/lavender. The chocolate wins! It's interesting how much this chocolate tames the cardamom. Usually if cardamom is involved, it's all you will taste. This was a good blend with the Dos Rios. I wish there was a bigger pepper kick to this truffle, but It's not necessarily a bad thing either since there is a lot going on with the chocolate flavors and the cardamom.
Cinnamon ganache with Guayas chocolate and candied pecans.
Lovely soft cinnamon aroma. Tangy ganache, lovely cinnamon and mellow bitter sweet chocolate. I really like Guayas for the ganache. It's mellow and finishes clean without a lot of lingering flavors allowing for the softer spices of the cinnamon to come out and play. This is a good balance of cinnamon too. It's not overly done. And of course the candied pecans give it a lovely crunchy texture and adds a beautiful toasted flavor.
Tangerine ganache with Ocumare (Venezuela) milk chocolate.
Smells creamy and citrus-y. Interesting flavor profile. Soft tangerine flavor with a creamy milky texture of the milk chocolate. It's really delicate on the ganache flavors, but the milk chocolate flavors are strong. The milk however does destroy all the nuances of Ocumare hallmark flavor profiles.
This isn't my favorite so far, but it's really nice at the same time. Creamy and citrus-y like a creamsicle.
Yuzu (Japanese Citrus) ganache with white chocolate shell.
I like the tiny detail of hand painted accent on this truffle. Looks a bit like a carrot though. Delicate ganache flavors once again. The Yuzu is incredibly soft yet it stands up to the white chocolate ganache center. This is actually quite lovely. As I mentioned before I am not a big fan of white chocolate, but the yuzu is really quite nice in this truffle. It actually lingerings on the palate more than the cloying effects of white chocolate. Very creamy and soft texture too. This is actually very beautiful. I could this being a treat left for customers after a very fancy meal. An exceptional way to walk out the door with this taste in your mouth.
Yemeni Sidr Honey ganache with Guayas Chocolate.
Sharp and tangy ganache center. All chocolate right up front. Even for a delicate chocolate made with Ecuador beans, it's tangy and bittersweet right up front. But then it's followed with a gorgeous and soft honey taste. You think that chocolate is going to dominate and then that lovely honey finishes up the taste. Simple and fantastic. The Guayas is a bit drying though for this truffle. I find that to be the case with Ecuador beans. With the other flavors they tended to make the mouth water so this drying effect wasn't noticed as much. The honey doesn't do that, but still the honey flavor is gorgeous.
Key Lime ganache and Guayas chocolate.
Pop of lime right up front, Again, tangy ganache. Doesn't taste too much like key lime though. Tastes more like a perfume-y persian lime. Again this is very soft and delicate ganache. I expected more from this one though. I am not saying they didn't use key lime in it, but it's not coming through as key lime. It's pretty and it's delicate like all the others before it, but it's a bit of a let down. It could have been a bit bolder on the lime.
Guayas Palet D'Or
Ecuador single origin truffle with just a bit of cream for the ganache center. Slight hints of edible gold flecks on this truffle. Aroma is soft of roasted cacao. Floral flavor of Jasmine, but not as strong a on their Guayas bar. Sweet berry flavor, and a slight, barely there, nutty taste. Disappointing center. Ganache was hard, chewy, and it all came out with one bite. Had to stuff some of it back in the chocolate shell. Texture was wrong but the flavor was right. A much softer and delicate version of the bar.
Ocumare Palet D'Or
Single origin from the northern coastal region of Venezuela. Minor edible gold flecks on this one too. A little smoky and inky. A little char flavors with a slight nutty finish. Soft ganache center, stand out flavor profiles of what I have come to know as hallmarks or coastal Venezuelan flavor profile. That smokiness, and the berry, pen ink-like flavors, a bit of char, and nuttiness round it all out.
Dos Rios Palet D'Or
Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo region. The most aromatic beans. All bergamot and lavender. This aroma is much softer than the bar and only has the bergamot standing out. Creamy ganache center, bergamot flavor right away, a bit of pepper, mild wood flavors on the finish. This is all of the flowers from the bar and all subtleties from the Dos Rios Bar's review are non-existent. That's not a problem though. What you really want to taste is the floral lavender and spicy bergamot. Those flavors are what this truffle is all about coupled with a gorgeous creamy ganache.
The other two truffles in the box were another Dos Rios Palat D'Or and Guayas Palat D'Or. I do wish one of the Madagascar Palat D'Or made it into this collection. Next time though. This collection is a very rich and flavorful box of truffles, yet delightfully subtle on the ganach flavorings as well. The lightness of the ganache centers flavors allowed for the chocolate's natual flavors to interact with the fillings yet not be overtaken by them.
Best Balance was the Cinnamon Guayas.
Most Surprising was the Yuzu white chocolate.
Softest flavor was the Yemini Sidr Honey.
Biggest let down was the Key Lime. This does not mean it wasn't good. It was very good, but not quite key lime.
Best over all was the Dos Rios Palet D'Or.