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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Duc De Praslin Peru 64%

Duc De Praslin Peru 64%
Posted: 24 July 2011    6.0 
Duc De Praslin Peru 64% 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?    
Avg price/gram: USD 0.056   Cocoa %: 64  Size: 45g   

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 fruity note,Chocolate regions 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.  The 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 cocaine dealers?

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 have to:

  Source their own beans and be in charge of batch roasting them.

  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 experience. 

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 universe.     

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Chocolove Cherry Almond from USA -- 55% cocoa solids
 Cadbury Old Gold Peppermint from Australia -- 45% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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