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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Chuao Ravishing Rocky Road

     
Chuao Ravishing Rocky Road 
Posted: 5 September 2014    7.0 
Chuao Ravishing Rocky Road from USA Chuao's claim to fame in the chocolate markets seems to be their unusual flavors of truffles and chocolate bars. This isn't a company that's going to grab you on the taste of a 41% milk chocolate bar working solo.   And, indeed, the Rocky Road fits the typical Chuao bill, incorporating ethically sourced cacao with higher quality fillings.  The chocolate itself is good, but not great.  The vegan marshmallow and almond additions were what elevated this bar into a satisfying chocolate-eating candy experience.  It would have been a rockier road if the fillings were omitted.
Avg price/gram: USD 0.063   Cocoa %: 41  Size: 80g   
       


The Chocolate Republic slowly recovers from an interminable summer and beyond thanks to someone we'll refer to as OptoJay.  OptoJay works as an optometrist in the Denver area.  A month ago he contacted me out of the blue to say that he and his wife were journeying to the far reaches of Thailand for a 10 day holiday.  Was there anything he could bring us?      

Gourmet chocolates and vodkas topped the list.  Among the more than dozen bars he brought, a third were from this brand I'd never heard of called Chuao.  Chuao is actually a prized cacao-growing region in Venezuela, where Amedei and Amano Artisan Chocolate source some of their cacao beans.  Ironically, Chuao is not where Chuao Chocolatier sources their own cacao. Their standard 41% milk chocolate is comprised of a 60% mix of Latin American cacao beans, most coming from Venezuela but not from the prized Chuao region.         

Chuao is run by a pair of Venezuelan bros.  Michael Antonorsi is in charge of the chocolate recipes, and his older brother Richard, chairman of the board.  The company opened up shop in 2002 with a small shop in Encinitas, California and has since expanded to three stores and a 9,000 square foot production facility.   

I'd never heard of the brand. Although it had been in production in 2005 when I last lived in California, the bars at that point were not so popular to be stocked in my local Whole Foods. Things are different today.  Chuao bars are now found in 5,000 retail outlets coast to coast. They're evidently easy to find in the Denver, Colorado area, where OptoJay scooped them up.        

I selected Chuao's Ravishing Rocky Road as the first entrant into the Chocolate Republic. OptoJay hadn't brought a standard milk chocolate bar, which would have been the ideal first taste.  I could have gauged just how delicious their Latin American blended milk chocolate was on its own.         

Based on what I've discovered about Chuao since researching the company, perhaps Rocky Road would have been the most indicative first test anyway.   Chuao's claim to fame in the chocolate markets seems to be their unusual flavors of truffles and chocolate bars.  This isn't a company that's going to grab you on the taste of a 41% milk chocolate bar working solo.      

And, indeed, the Rocky Road fits the typical Chuao bill, incorporating ethically sourced cacao with higher quality fillings.  In the Rocky Road, this includes salted caramelized almonds and vegan marshmallows.        

The molding design of each bar is phenomenal, the larger bar comprised of a collection of different chocopods.  The chocolate itself is good, but not great. Have you ever been to a restaurant and eaten a dish which you know was made with phenomenal ingredients, but the overall flavors didn't blow you away?  You've captured Chuao's chocolate in a nutshell -- or chocopod in this case. 

Had there been a milk chocolate bar to sample, I can already guess I would have rated it somewhere in the 6 range, particularly given its premium price. Chocolatiers with extremely high chocolate quality tend to establish their reputations with basic bars of differing cacao concentrations. Witness Madecasse with their 63%, 70%, 75%, and 80% offerings. The vegan marshmallow and almond additions were what elevated this bar into a satisfying chocolate-eating candy experience. Lord only knows it would have been a rockier road if the fillings were omitted.

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Lindt Excellence 99% from Switzerland -- 99% cocoa solids
 Orion To you from Korea -- 29% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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