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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Valrhona Jivara

     
Valrhona Jivara 
Posted: 23 June 2011    8.5 
Valrhona Jivara This bar's creamy, it's light. It could be the brown sugar, the barley malt extract, and the (natural) vanilla extract that set this milk chocolate apart from the endless masses. Or it could be the effects of the third large bottle of beer I'd drunk that evening.     
Avg price/gram: USD 0.086   Cocoa %: 40  Size: 70g  France chocolate 
       


When Korean sex dynamo wannabee Wan Hyuk Park returned to Thailand from Australia with three Valrhona bars, I didn't know what to expect.  Like other brands, Valrhona is heavily hyped.  I know hotel chefs who use Valrhona cocoa powder in their cooking.   Were they buying it because Valrhona was so superb or because it was a safe premium bet? 

Tasting the Guanaja and Manjari, both dark bars, convinced me Valrhona knew how to put that special spin on a common treat so as to make it their very own. Last up for the taste buds was the Jivara, Valrhona's "creamy and chocolatey" milk. 

Leave it to Valrhona's copywriters to make the mundane sound special.   On the back of the bar, it says that "the exceptionally aromatic and powerful beans that are used to make Jivara are found in Forastero plantations."  That's a flowery way of saying that this bar uses the cheapest, most plentiful cacao bean in existence, the same one used to make that shoddy milk chocolate in the Snickers or Kit Kat or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup you just ate.  I gotta admit, I was surprised here.   A company of Valrhona's stature could've thought to put a fraction of Trinatario in the mix just so they could boast about it. 

That said, with the cheapest beans (which, to be fair, most manufacturers the world over use in their milks and some in their darks), Jivara isn't skimping on cocoa content.  40% cocoa solids in this one.  I believe it's the highest cocoa solid milk chocolate bar the Chocolate Republic has yet seen.  To put that into perspective, Old Gold 'dark' chocolate has only 45% and Old Gold Rum and Raisin, which many think of as a darkish chocolate bar, has only 37%.       

This bar's creamy, it's light.  It could be the brown sugar, the barley malt extract, and the (natural) vanilla extract that set this milk chocolate apart from the endless masses. You normally see vanilla in darker bars, very dark ones, to counteract the bitter taste of the cacao. Or it could be the effects of the third large bottle of beer I'd drunk that evening. 

This is another bar in Valrhona's Grand Cru range, with the beans in this one sourced, at least in the past, in Ecuador. This is a bar that grows on you. When you first bite into it, you wonder what all the hype and the hefty price tag is all about. On the second bite, you start to appreciate that there's more to the bar than just the initial flavor. It's got a balanced creamy texture, too. Then you notice it has a pretty delicate aroma for a milk. By the fourth bite, you're hooked, and the bar's remaining life span is limited.

Work your way up to this one. The price tag warrants it.  Graduate high school first. If you still think that Ghiradelli or Cadbury set the standards, you still haven't left primary school.

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Chocolate Monggo Ginger from Indonesia -- 58% cocoa solids
 Frey Coffee & Cocoa from Switzerland -- 30% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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Insights From A Travel Mastermind

  Jivara from Valrhona in France is milk chocolate. Good milk? Don't know. The cheap forastero beans hail from Ecuador. Live it up at the chocolate republic with Doug of Doug's Republic