Monday, March 22, 2021

Valrhona - Noir Orange Flavored Chocolate 56% Cacao - Mar. 22, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Valrhona Chocolate
Noir (Dark) Orange-Flavoured Chocolate 56% Cacao (block) 
Good +
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 7.06 oz. (200 g.) in total bar/block
Calories: 230 calories in 1 segment of bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and NOPQ Theme Week, where chocolates with flavor inclusions and origins starting with the letters N, O, P and/or Q.

Today's Noir Orange Gastronomie (Baking) Chocolate 56% Cacao (block) was from Valrhona Chocolate. Varhona has been producing premium chocolate in the small village of Tain-l'Heritage, France, in a wine-growing region near Lyon, since 1922.*

This smooth, dark chocolate was perfumed with a balanced, natural orange aroma. A hint of vanilla added warmth, for eating and baking. And, happily, it was not too sweet for a 56% cacao chocolate (thank you!). 

When I started my Chocolate Banquet journey in 2006, I noticed I was gravitating more toward baking, i.e. less sweet, chocolate. There were fewer dark chocolate options back then. French chocolate had a certain cachet; and Valrhona chocolate was one of the first dark chocolates I remember really liking.

Today's orange-flavored French chocolate offered both a pleasing, high-end eating and baking/dessert experience. This would be great choice for chocolate mousse (regular or non-dairy versions), brownies (regular or gluten-free versions), melted over ice cream or in a smoothie, drizzled over a croissant or crepe, made into chocolate fondue, etc. 

The chocolate had a uniform undercurrent of rich, velvety, sophisticated, true chocolate (dark chocolate fudge brownie) from start to finish. The orange evolved during the tasting experience, from neroli (orange blossom)-like scent, to a slightly tart-sweet, true orange citrus flavor finish.

Ingredients: "sugar, cocoa beans, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soy lecithin), orange flavor, natural vanilla extract."

Allergen information: "This product might contain traces of nuts, milk and egg proteins, gluten and peanut."

*I remember as a child growing up in the U.S. in the 1900s, Valrhona chocolates, and French chocolates in general, were spoken about with great reverence.

My young siblings and I were chocolate monkeys back then. I can remember climbing up on the counter to investigate baking chocolate in the cupboards above. Most of the American baking chocolates were too bitter. But, Swiss-processed (alkalized) varieties were more approachable. A few pieces of the dark stuff would fuel tree-climbing, bicycling and swimming adventures for hours in the summers. 

And, for outdoor sun protection and trips to the beach, squares of ivory-colored cocoa butter were rubbed on and applied. The smell was heavenly, even if these 100% cacao fat squares weren't particularly edible. 

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