One of the chocolatiers I was most looking forward to meeting at the Chocolate Show was Amano. Brian was lucky enough to sample both the Madagascar and his Ocumare bar and was floored by what a wonderful quality chocolate it was. I was especially excited because Amano was awarded Best Dark Chocolate, Best Dark Chocolate Bar and Most Gifted Chocolatier at the 2007 San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. Now that’s more than impressive!
Unlike many of the chocolatiers at the show who had dozens of products to offer, Amano keeps things simple with his selection of three bars. Yes, you heard me, three. This year Art Polland (the genius behind the whole operation) introduced a new limited edition bar: Cuyagua.
Cuyagua is limited edition because the beans are so rare and of such superior quality. They come from a small region in Venezuela near Caracas (for those of you with a map!) known for having some of the oldest cocoa plantations. When Art handed me samples of this bar and explained how scarce these beans are, his eyes and gestures just shone with his enthusiasm for this product.
The bar I was so kindly given was molded on June 27 of this year and comes with a lot number. Art explained that even when keeping the process the same, the beans can still taste different from bar to bar, so he keeps track of each molding in hopes of creating a chocolate vintage catalog. That’s certainly something I’d like to see!
The bar smells incredible rich, and I get strong aromas of spices. The snap is incredibly strong and the break very clean. The flavor is very subtle; there’s no acidity this this at all. I get very smooth buttery and chocolate notes. At the very finish of the bar, I get notes of apricot and plum, that slowly melt away in the mouth.
All, I can say is I cannot but agree with Brian’s original opinions of Amano’s chocolate. They are nothing short of amazing. The care and passion that are put into making this one-of-a-kind bar is really apparent, and I can assure you that you’ll taste nothing else like it. So if you fancy yourself a true chocolate fan, I highly recommend trying this bar. It may be hard to come by though, since the beans are so rare; you can only find it online or at select retailers. Taking that all into consideration, it’ll make the price tag of $7 per 2oz a little easier to swallow, but trust me, your taste buds will thank you for it.