Last year I reviewed the Valrhona Lait Jivara 40% Tasting Bar, a bite-size bar of chocolate ideal as a treat. Back then, I craved more of the flavour of cocoa to come through.
Fast forward to today and I've got myself another miniscule bar to review made by Valrhona, this time in a 70% dark chocolate. Will it deliver on the more robust flavour I seek? Read on to find out.
The tiny black and red paper clad bar weighs in at a meagre 20 grams, so this particular bar is best suited for snacking. A quick chocolate fix on the go, if you will.
The tiny package means there's not much space on the bar to explain the intricacies of the Noir Guanaja exclusive blend. However, after a bit of Googleing, I discovered this 70% bar is made from a blend of Trinitario and Criollo cocoa beans and is named after the Caribbean island the beans herald from - Guanaja off the northern coast of Honduras. According to Valrhona, this single-origin chocolate is a favourite amongst top chefs and artisans thanks to its pronounced flavour .
Back to the packaging, the wording is printed in both English and French. The front includes the phrase "bittersweet and elegant" to describe the flavour. On the rear of the packaging, there's just the bare essentials, including the ingredients and nutritional information.
Valrhona Noir Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate ingredients:
Cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla extract. Cocoa solids: 70% minimum.
This chocolate bar has a sugar content level of around 32%. It doesn't appear to include milk in the recipe but it is listed as an allergen after the ingredients list, presumably as the bar is made in a factory that also handles milk products.
Valrhona Noir Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate Review
Peeling back the paper wrapper and gold-foiled wrapper revealed a long, thin, and delicate bar of chocolate. The mould used helps make 20g of chocolate appear like it goes a lot further, and as a consequence, this feels like quite a generously-sized portion of chocolate - ideal as a cheeky mid-work or post-workout snack.
The bar appears to be separated into five bites but my bar failed to snap along the grooves as expected. Even so, the snap as clean and crisp, and the bar split into eight pieces of different size.
With little room on the wrapper of this tiny bar to include anything about what to expect when tasting this bar, I once again turned to the power of the Internet. The consensus is that there ought to be a strong, powerful, lingering flavour, with a slight acidity, and floral and fruity notes together with hints of coffee and molasses.
The initial aroma is weak but distinctly woody, with hints of smoke and leather. The crisp and clean snap makes dividing this 20g bar of chocolate a breeze, although there's not a great deal of it to go around.
It takes a few seconds for the flavour to reveal itself upon tasting, but then bitter liquorice notes develop first, toying with hints of tart raspberry and cherry. This blossoms into hints of smoke and molasses towards the end. A citrus-like bitter edge runs throughout as an undertone.
The bitter edge tapers off into the aftertaste, leaving a more rounded chocolate flavour, with leathery notes lingering.
It's an interesting flavour but I'm not keen on the bitterness revealed in this bar. It's not a dry bitterness but instead a similar sort of bitterness to that of lemon or grapefruit. Out of the Noir Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate bar and the Valrhona Lait Jivara 40% Tasting 20g bar, I'd opt for the creamier milk chocolate variant.
I could imagine this working very well in pastry work though, thanks to its quirky characteristics - which could explain why it's a hit with chefs.
Overall, I liked the flavour of this 70% dark chocolate but felt the bitterness was too pronounced to make it an enjoyable cheeky midday treat. If you like your dark chocolate to have a rich flavour and a noticeable bitterness to boot, definitely give this bar a whirl.
Noir Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate Review
RRP: £0.99 | Valrhona | Shop now°
A cute, good-looking snack bar - even if it is tiny at 20g - in nice packaging. It was just a little too bitter for my liking as a snack bar, but the 70% dark chocolate was noticeably flavourful, with clear flavour notes that shine through.
Where to Buy Online
The 20g bar is incredibly difficult to find online. However, you can find a bigger 70g bar of Valrhona Noir Guanaja chocolate online at Chocolate Trading Co°. It's also available in 1kg and 3kg bags of chocolate chips for baking here°.
Have you tasted Valrhona Noir Guanaja 70% dark chocolate? Share your thoughts on this chocolate in the comments below.