/ Doug's Chocolate Republic /
Review: Duc De Praslin Peru 64%
Duc De Praslin Peru 64%
Posted: 24 July 2011
I didn't smell a bouquet of dried fruit or taste any fruit. Rather, I tasted a background note of cinnamon. Is cinnamon a particular feature of Peruvian cacao? Could the cinnamon essence be the bouquet of dried coca that may be grown on the neighboring soils to supply the world's legion of cocaine dealers?
price/gram: USD 0.056
Cocoa %: 64
Let's begin this review with
getting the hype out of the way. Gallothai describes
this one as " a slightly bitter cocoa taste with a fresh
accentuated by a bouquet of dried fruit [which]
makes this chocolate an unforgettable sensation."
By now. on my sixth Duc De
Praslin bar, I feel like an abused gigolo. A youthful
gigolo fresh on the job thinks, "This is amazing. I
get paid to be with women." By the time he's serviced
a half dozen plump senior citizens, he comprehends that the
unpaid fantasy is better than the paid reality.
I came to the Duc De Praslin
Origins collection with uncontrolled excitement. Cacao
beans from throughout the world? Taster notes?
This would be like my very first wine tasting Well, if
Wine Advocate Robert Parker was subjected to the equivalent of
cask wine repeatedly but paid premium French prices for it, he, too, would
start rethinking his avocation.
Gallothai offers three of
their dark collections with about 64% cocoa solid content.
he other two are the
Costa Rica (62%
cocoa mass, 2% cocoa butter) and the
Papua New Guinea (56%
cocoa mass, 9% cocoa butter). This Peru bar enjoys a
fairer comparison with the Papua New Guinea; it contains 56%
cocoa mass and 8% cocoa butter. The Peru and
Papua New Guinea thus remain the only true case where I
could compare a bar based solely on the origin bean used.
I didn't smell a bouquet of
dried fruit or taste any fruit. Rather, I tasted a
background note of cinnamon. Is cinnamon a particular
feature of Peruvian cacao? In January 2010,
Time magazine wrote how one chocolate entered into the
prestigious Salon du Chocolat in Paris was named the most
aromatic in the world. This bar was made from Peruvian
cacao. In Peru, cacao fields now lie where coca fields
previously did. With only a one letter difference
between 'cacao' and 'coca' it wasn't such a leap from making
cocaine to making chocolate. Could the cinnamon
essence be the bouquet of dried coca that may be grown on
the neighboring soils to supply the world's legion of
Peru is an up and comer in
the cacao market. 10 Peruvian regions grow
Trinitario, Amazon foreign, and Creole cacao varieties on
around 40,000 hectares. From what I've read about Peruvian
cacao, it has very unique taste characteristics few
chocophiles would have had an opportunity to sample.
Unfortunately, the Peru 64%, just like the rest of the
Origins range I've prostituted myself to eat, really doesn't
make the most of the opportunity.
Here's the problem.
Gallothai, makers of Duc De Praslin, is not a bean to bar
manufacturer. They get the cacao already processed
from Belgium and fashion it into bars in Thailand. Any
serious manufacturer of an origins-like product line would
Source their own beans and be in charge of batch roasting
Expertly understand the nature of a particular country's
beans. Why are those beans special? The
chocolate recipe created using those beans would use
additional ingredients and flavors that brought out the best
features of those beans. Try to think like a master
chef here. When a superb chef has the finest cuts of
meat, he doesn't drown that meat in heavy cream sauces that
shield the natural flavors of the meat. You use
the heavy sauces to cover up the inferiority of bad meat.
Have a clear rationale you can explain to the customer why
you made country A's bar 38% and country B's bar 64%.
The tasting through the range becomes an educational
Gallothai doesn't source
their beans, roast them, or process them. The flowery
taster notes sound like something you'd hear on a 30-second
commercial, not serious analyses of the bar. The
recipes, as far as I can tell, always have about 1% vanilla
in them, regardless of cacao content, regardless of origin.
Duc De Praslin's Peru was
neither better nor worse than its Papua New Guinea.
That doesn't tell us much. Duc De Praslin
could've used Martian or Venusian cacao at 64%, and we'd
remain no closer to understanding the secrets of our