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Review: Duc De Praslin Uganda 80%
Duc De Praslin Uganda 80%
Posted: 24 July 2011
My taste experience of Duc De Praslin's Uganda 80%, the last in their Origins range I sampled, could draw a lot of parallels with my '96 Ugandan robbery experience. In '96, insiders robbed me of possessions from a place I'd rented from them in Uganda. In '11, insiders robbed me of good taste from a chocolate bar I'd bought from them with cacao sourced in Uganda.
price/gram: USD 0.056
Cocoa %: 80
Of all the countries from
which Duc De Praslin uses beans to create their Origins
collection, the African nation of Uganda is the only one
I've been to. That was way back in 1996 and part
of my 15-month African tour.
You know what happened to me
in Uganda? I got robbed. Yep. The only place in
Africa where I was thieved. I was sharing a room with
a Canadian couple. We had our own lock on the door.
When we came back one night, the lock had been hacked off
and our room ransacked. This was before the era of
iPods, digital cameras, travel with laptop computers.
The thieves -- the hotel staff -- stole a cassette Walkman,
a few tapes, and some other stuff that wasn't worth much.
It was more the feeling of having one's space violated that
impacted the three of us. The police told us to
continue staying at the same same hotel while they
My taste experience of Duc De
Praslin's Uganda 80%, the last in their Origins range I
sampled, could draw a lot of parallels with my '96 Ugandan
robbery experience. In '96, insiders robbed me of
possessions from a place I'd rented from them in Uganda.
In '11, insiders robbed me of good taste from a chocolate
bar I'd bought from them with cacao sourced in Uganda.
This 80% bar consists of just
three things: 72% cocoa mass, 8% coca butter, and 20%
sugar. Duc De Praslin lets you know that "Forastero
beans from Uganda are renowned for their classic cocoa
flavor and low acidity. The high cocoa content of this
rich, dark chocolate provides a supreme cocoa taste with
hints of earthiness, mushrooms, and a subtle smoky flavor." If
the bar tasted anything like this, I wouldn't be
complaining. I'd be lying in bed, having pieces hand
fed to me by my wife, basking in the glory of having found
the perfect chocolate bar.
The bar had a flat flavor.
I tasted bitter cacao, not even unique Ugandan bitter cacao,
and not much else. When a manufacturer gets into the
80% ranges of cacao content, that's when it's time to get
creative. Green & Black's handled the bitterness issue
well with their 85% bar.
How's Duc De Praslin handling the bitterness issue?
About as well as Barack Obama is handling the U.S. national
debt. Sorry, guys. Ignoring the problem doesn't
get rid of it. Adding sugar alone, literally with the
chocolate or in mellifluous cliches in Obama's case, is a
For the record, forastero
beans are bulk beans. Forastero beans from the Ivory
Coast and Ghana constitute the majority of beans you're
going to find in any chocolate anywhere. More exotic
cacaos (Ecuador, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea) are mixed in
to add flavor notes. While it's well known to even the
lobotomized that West Africa is a major world producer of
cacao, I had no idea whatsoever that Uganda in East Africa
was also in on the cacao act. Pre-2000, Uganda wasn't
on the cacao map. In 2007, cacao exports for Uganda
totaled just USD 20m, but by 2010, the country was exporting
USD 45m and 15,000 metric tons. Production levels
remain low because heavy machinery can't run all year round
on an output of 15,000 metric tons. By contrast,
Ivory Coast produced 1.6m metric tons in 2010, and number 2
producer Ghana 490,000 metric tons. Uganda's
advantage as a cacao producer, as far as I can tell, is the
fact that the country sits at a higher altitude than West
African nations. The humidity in Uganda is lower, so
the cacao crop is infested by fewer diseases and pests.
doing my research for this Duc De Praslin bar, I discovered
that a Belgian company named Kim's Chocolates is selling
their Cachet Limited Selection Uganda 80% bar in a leading
Canadian supermarket chain. The cost is 30% less per
gram than Duc De Praslin. On the back of
Kim's chocolate wrapper, it reads that "forastero beans
in Uganda are renowned for their classic cocoa flavor . . .
with hints of earthiness, mushrooms, and a subtle smoky
flavor." Don't you get a feeling of deja vu as you
The owner of Gallothai made
no secret that the chocolate used in the Duc De Praslin bars
is manufactured by a Belgian operation called Belcolade.
It's highly likely that Kim's Chocolates sources the
identical cacao (notice a Peru 64% bar above), the identical
taster notes, and makes, essentially, the identical
Uganda may be the world's
next wonderlords when it comes to cacao growth. Don't
purchase this bar if you're truly eager to find out.