El Pedregal Venezuela Noir 64% bar
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 201 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Cacao at the Heathman, Portland, OR
Welcome to Day #9 of French Chocolate Week, and Day #2 of Venezuela Theme Week.
Single origin chocolate can refer to cacao that was grown in a specific region. Or the term single origin can be even more specific, referring to on a single estate, farm or plantation. Today's Chocolat de Domaine (Single Estate Chocolate) bar from Valrhona (Tain l'Hermitage, France) was the latter.
The El Pedregal Venezuela Noir 64% bar resulted from Valrhona's decade-long effort to restore and grow Porcelana, a relatively rare Criollo cacao, at El Pedregal estate in Venezuela.
Porcelana* Criollo flavor notes are known for being subtle and wonderful, well balanced, less acidic and bitter. This same flavor profile makes it more easily overshadowed by sugar and/or inclusions than, say, chocolate made from bolder strains of Forestero cacao.
Sadly, at "only" 64% cacao, there was too much sugar for me to detect the advertised flavor notes of honey and ripe fruit (think peach rather than red or black berries). I liked the idea of adding (less processed) brown sugar which imparts its own warm, mellow flavor, and would not want to second guess the chocolate makers on this choice. However, I couldn't help but wonder what a 70% cacao bar might have tasted like. (Ingredients: cocoa beans, brown sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin and vanilla)
The El Pedregal bar had a clean and subtle finish with no off notes.
*Porcelana comes from the cacao seed's (or bean's) appearance. When the raw bean is cut open the inside has a white or ivory color, lighter than other cacao beans.