According to WorldWideChocolate.com:
Venezuela is home of legendary cocoa beans. The mountains are stock-full of theobroma trees, and some researchers believe Venezuela is home of the first cocoa tree.
Doesn’t that sound like a good reason to try some Venezuelan chocolate?
For those of you who have read my book, “In Pursuit of Purity, The Paris Chocolate Files”, you are aware of how much France has played a role in my love affair with chocolate and how it has contributed to my appreciation for cacao of high percentages. A few years ago the French chocolate maker À La Mère de Famille introduced me to 100% Venezuelan chocolate. It was love at first bite, and admittedly I was hooked! But must I go to France to experience the joy of Venezuelan chocolate?
The answer is no, as I was recently introduced to San Francisco based L’Amourette Chocolate. This is what their website says about their 100% Dark Gold - Extra Dark Chocolate:
The extraordinary cocoa flavor will speak directly to your soul and get you high and it is full of the benefits created by the synergistic effect of the theobroma and antioxidants. This bar is like the classical music of the Romantic Period-it needs to be appreciated by someone who has lived long enough to understand and accept it.
Before I address these claims, I must start by talking about the packaging. So much of the personality of the chocolate maker is conveyed through the packaging and bar design, which is a factor I truly appreciate. The L’Amourette packaging and bar design left an impression. First, the paper used for the box is nicely textured. Hold on to that thought as I will come back to that in a minute. Second, while each of their bars are housed in different colored boxes, the company’s gold signature logo is set apart in a square of differing color fixed at the top of the front of the box. These initial observations illustrate how important the entire chocolate eating experience is to the chocolate maker.
The bar resides in a vibrant pink sealed package that is adorned with the company’s logo. In the safety of this colorful wrapper is a bar with two thick ingots per row (total of ten ingots) with the company’s logo. The ingots are quite charming as they are heart-shaped and beautiful to behold. This is yet another way this bar lures you and makes a favorable first impression with those whom you share a piece with.
The size of the bar reminds me so much of French chocolate, as it is nice and thick weighing a full 3.5 ounces (100g). The fine French chocolate bars I have had felt like a gold bullion in weight in comparison to the diminutive sized bars that I’ve become accustomed to from other companies. Each ingot is like a mini bar that packs more than enough chocolate to gratify everyone's chocolate craving. But having more chocolate means nothing if you don’t enjoy how it tastes, right?
Fortunately, that is not something to be concerned about with this bar. It is made with Trinitario beans, cocoa butter, and bourbon vanilla beans. It has a very fruity nose, which is the first thing that hits your tongue. This is where your chocolate journey starts. However, don't get too comfortable with the ripe red fruit flavor as it transitions to smooth nutty cocoa notes that are accentuated by the bourbon vanilla beans. The addition of cocoa butter creates an incredibly full, rich and creamy mouthfeel. While there is a little graininess in the texture, it is just like the texture of the packaging; it simply adds to the tasting experience (I told you I would come back to that thought).
This bar literally transported me back to Paris! In fact, I had to try it with the Venezuela 100% from À La Mère de Famille (which does not add anything to the cocoa paste). There were a lot of similarities between the bars as far as the flavor profile and the rich mouthfeel. However, in this instance I did not have to travel to France to experience the joys of 100% Venezuelan chocolate.
So, coming back to the claims made by L’Amourette … Can I say that, "The extraordinary cocoa flavor will speak directly to your soul and get you high ...”? Well, what I can attest to is that the cocoa flavor is remarkable and that it clearly made an impression on me. It took me on a journey where I re-experienced some of the most pleasant memories I have associated with chocolate, which resulted in a sense of elation and tranquility. Is it like "classical music of the Romantic Period-it needs to be appreciated by someone who has lived long enough to understand and accept it”? Well, apparently I have "lived long enough" for not only did I thoroughly enjoy this chocolate, but I look forward to sharing it with others in hopes that they will experience their own chocolate journey.
If you think you have “lived long enough” to understand and accept the beauty of 100% Venezuelan chocolate and want to experience something that "will speak directly to your soul” check out L’Amourette’s 100% Dark Gold - Extra Dark Chocolate.