Valrhona is one of the biggest chocolate manufacturers in the world, with a huge repository of cocoa blends to explore.
When I spotted a cute little bar from the French chocolate maker in Whole Foods Market in London, I knew I needed to try it.
This miniscule 20 gram pick-me-up bar of Valrhona Lait Jivara 40% promises to be 'creamy' and 'chocolatey'. But does it deliver?
The chocolate bar is securely wrapped in a golden foil, with a black and tan paper wrapper sealing it closed. Despite weighing in at just 20 grams, the packaging makes it look a far more generous serving.
Valrhona Lait Jivara is a milk chocolate boasting a minimum 40% cocoa solids. It's made using Nacional cocoa, which is a Forastero cocoa variety heralding from Ecuador. The front of the packaging promises a "creamy and chocolatey" taste, and also boasts that Lait Jivara is an exclusive grand cru blend to Valrhona.
The rear of the packaging lists both the date of manufacture and the best before date (it has around a year of shelf life). Above the nutritional information, the ingredients are listed in both English and French:
Valrhona Lait Jivara 40% Cacao Milk Chocolate ingredients:
Cocoa butter, whole milk powder, sugar, cocoa beans, brown sugar, natural vanilla extract, emulsifier (soya lecithin), barley malt extract. Milk chocolate contains 40% minimum cocoa solids.
Note the added malt in this blend. Also, thanks to a generous helping of cocoa butter, milk powder, and various sugars, this should result in a very sweet and creamy bar.
The 20g bar is designed to be savoured slowly in one go. As you would expect, 20 grams is hardly anything so it is impressive to see Valrhona using a cleverly shaped mould to stretch this bar out beyond a single square. In fact, I split my bar into five segments which could have lasted more than a day if I was careful.
A rich, full-bodied, almost caramel-like aroma is given off by the bar. It is a very sweet milky, creamy smell with a very subtle hint of vanilla coming through. The aroma has character, and stands apart to your average bar of milk chocolate. It reminds me of the sweet initial aroma of Lindt chocolate, only with the caramel tones ramped up.
Tasting the chocolate, the aroma translates onto the palate, with those caramel tones coming through clearly. The bar melts instantly as it hits your tongue making it very easy to let this one melt slowly as you savour the smooth flavour. It takes a while before the flavour develops, yet as soon as it does, the creaminess rushes in to coat your mouth. The flavour intensifies until you swallow, at which point the creaminess lingers, more so than the flavours from the cocoa.
While enjoyable to eat, I would have liked to have more of the cocoa flavours come through, sacrificing some of the creaminess and sweetness in the process. The rich buttery flavour is what sets this bar apart from others, but I'm not sure that alone is exciting enough for me. Don't get me wrong, it's a pleasant bar and ideally suited as an indulgent treat (it would be lovely with a hot latte), but it lacks the depth of flavour I crave.
Valrhona Lait Jivara Review
RRP: £0.99 | Valrhona | Shop now°
A satisfying yet small bar of milk chocolate with a rich, sweet, and creamy caramel-like flavour. I'd have liked to taste more of the cocoa itself though.
Where to buy
You can find a bigger 70g bar of Valrhona Jivara chocolate online at Chocolate Trading Co°. It's also available in 1kg and 3kg bags of chocolate chips for baking here°. Melt them into a mug of hot milk for a creamy hot chocolate with hints of caramel.
Have you tasted Valrhona Lait Jivara 40% milk chocolate? Share your thoughts on this chocolate in the comments below.