Professional and home-cooks covet Valrhona chocolate for baking.
This year, the French chocolate company expanded its chocolate bar and home-baking range. I’ve baked many a time with the deep, complex tasting dark chocolate with unparalleled results.
When samples of its 3.5-ounce chocolate bars arrived in the mail, it was the perfect time to see if they stacked up to their baking counterparts.
I’ll use my patented scale of 1 to 10 lip-smackers, with 1 being the “Bleh, save your money” far end of the spectrum; 5 being the “I’m not sure I’d buy it, but if it was just there, I might nibble some” middle-of-the-road response; and 10 being the “My gawd, I could die now and never be happier, because this is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” supreme ranking.
Valrhona Grands Crus Bars ($5.99 each): I tried four of them. The Jivara 40 percent with Caramelized Pecans is a milk chocolate lover’s delight. The chocolate has a malty milk flavor, and a soft, smooth quality in your mouth. The pecans add a nice texture and more sweetness. This is like a grown-up Nestle’s Crunch Bar.
The Guanaja 70 percent with Roasted Cocoa Nibs is deeply earthy, but not bitter. The nibs grind against your teeth, making you laugh — in a good way, of course.
The Manjari 64 percent with Orange is made with beans from Madagascar. The chocolate itself has lovely red-wine fruit notes with an edge of subtle tang. The bitter-sweet nuggets of orange are the perfect compliment.
The Caraibe 66 percent with Roasted Hazelnuts is made from Trinitario beans from the Caribbean. The chocolate has a wonderful roasty, toasty quality that is heightened by the hazelnuts. It’s an explosion of nuttiness, with a finish that lingers a long time. Although I liked them all, this one would have to be my favorite.
For the best source of Valrhona chocolates, go to Chocosphere.
Rating Overall: 9 lip-smackers.