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

     
Valrhona Manjari 
Posted: 23 June 2011    8.0 
Valrhona Manjari I expected it to have hints of orange with the word tangy showing up on the cover. Orange wouldn't be the flavor I believe I tasted but there was a distinct tang. From the first bite, I thought I could taste bits of ground cocoa in a sort of chalky choco-earthy texture. Jesus! I am already writing like a conceited wine critic.    
Avg price/gram: USD 0.086   Cocoa %: 64  Size: 70g  France chocolate 
       


After digesting the very impressive (in small doses) Valrhona Guanaja, I took this slightly lesser dark Manjari out of the refrigerator to put expensive Valrhona to the test for a second time.

The Manjari is described on the cover as "fresh and tangy."  It's almost at the same level of darkness as the Guanaja,yet only composed of the Trinitario cacao bean.   No rare Criollo in this one. Some other lax choco-reviewers on their own web sites erroneously say the Manjari consists of both Criollo and Trinitario.  Perhaps the Manjari once included Criollo; if it still does, I doubt Valrhona would be shy about making that fact public.  The description on the bar's back wrapper reads "The rich soils of the Sambirano River Valley encourage the release of acidic notes of red berries and dried fruit.  These aromas are unique to the Trinatario, a tree not commonly found on the northern side of Madagascar."   Valrhona has a field day with the Madagascar angle.  Under ingredients, the first item is listed as "cocoa beans from Madgascar."      

The Guanaja and Manjari are part of Valrhona's Grand Cru range.   Grand Cru's shtick is that each bar in the range is sourced from beans from a particular country or region.   The Guanaja used South American beans.  I could find no hard evidence for specific countries, so Valrhona must blend their cacao from several.  The Manjari's beans, on the other hand, all comes from the Malagasy isle.    

I expected it to have hints of orange with the word tangy showing up on the cover.  Orange wouldn't be the flavor I believe I tasted but there was a distinct tang.  From the first bite, I thought I could taste bits of ground cocoa in a sort of chalky choco-earthy texture.  Jesus!  I am already writing like a conceited wine critic.  French food stuffs just have a magic pretentious power over you. 

For just 6% less cocoa solid content than the Guanaja, it tasted 15-20% less bitter and was a lot easier to stomach in larger doses.  The small 20 gram Guanaja bar took me a few days to finish.   I had no addiction to scarf it down.   The Manjari possessed a flavor that was more accessible, more familiar, but with an elegant touch.        

All the finer brands of chocolates are using Trinatario beans.  Nothing new on that front.  Valrhona just appears to know how to source them, conch them, and roast them better than most of their competition.  Being from France, with weird and exotic names, almost gives the company carte blanche to charge you whatever they please for them.         

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Ritter Sport Marzipan from Germany -- 50% cocoa solids
 Bendicks Bitteroranges from UK -- 95% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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Fascinating Ideas You Could Care Less About

  Manjari from Valrhona in France is dark, dark chocolate from Madagascar made from trinitario beans. Do you like chocolate republic with Doug of Doug's Republic?