15 Premium Chocolates: Tasted and Reviewed!

After my stash of Valrhona chocolate was nearing disappearance, I quickly started to panic and I thought, “How am I going to live without high quality chocolate by my side?” To quite a few, that seems like an exaggeration and loving thyself a bit too much. To me, that was the not-so-bitter truth. I’m sorry, but when you have a bad day, at least there will be one thing that doesn’t suck, waiting for you at the table, in your house.

Panicking is not good. It makes you do crazy things. Like online shopping for chocolate. For yourself. And enclosing a card like this.

For those of you who have never tasted a chocolate bar with more than 30% cacao in your entire lives: you are missing out. I regret my childhood when the only pieces of chocolate left in the chocolate box were the dark ones. I was an awful child. That is all I’m going to say. Spend a few months tasting a few pieces of GOOD QUALITY (very essential) dark chocolate, and you’ll start feeling that milk chocolate is sort of bland.

These chocolate bars were tasted over the course of 3 days, since it’s not recommended to do a taste test for more than 5 at a time. Take a break of a couple of hours between each session.

Basic Chocolate Tasting Guidelines

1- Start with room temperature chocolate, not too cold (it will take a lot of time to melt in your mouth) nor too warm/soft.
2- Start tasting chocolates from those with the lowest cacao percentage, to highest. You don’t want the intense flavors of the high cacao percentage bar to ruin the rest!
3- Use a palate cleanser between different chocolates, I recommend a piece of bread. It works beautifully.
4- Chocolate WILL make you thirsty. Drink water between chocolates as it helps cleanse your palate. Make sure the water is at room temperature or close to warm, even. Cold water will make the interior of your mouth too cold for the chocolate to melt properly.

 I will be reviewing 16 different types of chocolate of six major brands: Amedei, Michel Cluizel, Bonnat, Valrhona, Pralus, and Duffy’s. Here’s a little overview on each brand:

Amedei
An Italian chocolate manufacturer. One of the biggest highlights of this review. I purchased their bar that’s considered “the most expensive chocolate in the world”, which costs a whopping 52 Saudi Riyals (13 dollars) per 50 grams ONLY. That chocolate was also used in making the world’s most expensive cupcake, if you guys remember that.

Michel Cluizel
A French chocolate manufacturer that started out small, but is huge now.

Bonnat
A French chocolate manufacturer that’s known for making a 65% cacao MILK chocolate bars.

Duffy’s
Made by a small chocolate manufacturing company called Red Star Chocolate in the UK.

Pralus
Run by Francois Pralus, a French chocolate maker and chocolatier.

Valrhona
A very popular French chocolate manufacturer. Even though I’ll only be reviewing one type here, it’s definitely one of my top favorites. I use their cocoa powder in my baking which produces the most wonderful results.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: with this rating system, most commercial chocolate bars won’t even get a 3. Keep this in mind when you spot a low rating.

The list is in ascending order of cacao percentage.

 

#1 Cioccolato AL Latte, by Amedei (Milk Chocolate, 32% cacao)

Since this is the first Amedei bar I tasted, I was quite impressed by how the bars were packed: SO beautifully. It was definitely the most expensive milk chocolate bar I ever bought.
Very rich, very buttery, and smooth. Quickly starts to melt in your mouth but it stays at that smooth stage for long before disappearing. As the package states: “the founding member of Amedei’s milk chocolate family”. This bar is what you think of when someone says MILK chocolate. The actual chocolate taste in this is very mild, but the aftertaste is undeniably chocolate.
I liked that it was not overly sweet, like those awful commercial milk chocolate bars, but it was definitely milky. I prefer more complexity when it comes to chocolate bars, and this was very simple. I know for sure that a lot of people would give it a 10.

Rating: 6.5/10
Weight:
50 grams
Price: 25 Saudi Riyals (~6.5 USD)

#2 Cioccolato Gianduja, by Amedei (Milk Chocolate, 32% cacao)

This chocolate bar is based on Gianduja, which is a delicious sweet chocolate that contains hazelnut paste. Fans of Nutella will love this bar. I’m one of those who think Nutella is overrated and this was the most delicious milk chocolate bar I have ever tasted. It is incredible. The SMOOTHEST, SOFTEST I have ever tried. The caramel flavor is quite strong in this bar which I absolutely LOVE. The nuttiness from the hazelnuts and almonds used, and the honey floral notes just make this special. I noticed subtle tobacco aromas. Highly recommended, would buy a million times over.

Rating: 10/10
Weight:
 50 grams
Price: 25 Saudi Riyals (~6.5 USD)

#3 Jivara, by Valrhona (Milk Chocolate, 40% cacao)

I have to say that Valrhona does not shine when it comes to milk chocolate, and while it’s good and delicious: it’s also expensive. The use of brown sugar in their milk chocolate establishes a good solid caramel taste, which is very pleasant, but not exactly memorable. Unlike Amedei’s milk chocolate, this does not have a strong aroma.

Rating: 7/10

#4 Melissa, by Pralus (Milk Chocolate, 45% cacao)

Very unique milk chocolate. Unlike the other squares, this one is a bit thick. It has a couple of spicy notes: licorice, and cinnamon, along with some earthy notes. I loved the flavor, but as for the mouthfeel… it felt a bit dry in my mouth. Would be good with a hot cup of coffee. I believe Pralus shines in dark chocolates only.

Rating: 6/10

#5 Maralumi Lait, by Michel Cluizel (Milk Chocolate, 47% cacao)

There are definitely berry notes in this chocolate, as stated by the manufacturer. Very delicious, and quite smooth. The flavor of cocoa is a lot more pronounced here than in your usual milk chocolate, and I love it. Michel Cluizel is certainly a master in making milk chocolate flavorful.

Rating: 8/10

 

#6 Java, by Bonnat (Milk Chocolate, 65% cacao)

 This was the milk chocolate bar I looked forward to the most, and I must say I am slightly disappointed. The coffee/smokey flavor note is quite strong in this one, almost overwhelms the chocolate taste. It is quite buttery, which I don’t like in chocolate; and the sweet note was very dull (I prefer a honey/caramel sweetness). It didn’t have that smoothness in melting you’d expect, and that’s crucial in milk chocolate. I don’t think this would suit the dark chocolate lovers nor the milk chocolate lovers. My least favorite bar of the bunch.
Rating: 5/10
Weight: 100 grams
Price:  30 Saudi Riyals (8 USD)

#7 Mangaro, by Michel Cluizel (Dark Chocolate, 65% cacao)

 First dark chocolate in the tasting and I am in love. The citrus and berry notes hit you in the face with this one but it is so unbelievably pleasant though tart. It was surprisingly smooth for dark chocolate. The aftertaste was also a bit acidic from the citrus but I personally liked it. Definitely one of my favorites.
Rating: 9/10
Weight: 70 grams
Price:  25 Saudi Riyals (~6.5 USD)

 

#8 Cru Jamaica, by Amedei (Dark Chocolate, 70% cacao)

One of the single origin Cru chocolate bars, and tasting it was a journey. Before you break into the chocolate, there is a synthetic flavor note, sort of like plastic or rubber, but that quickly disappears into a woody/oaky taste, extremely roasted, and it moves from generally earthy to slightly fruity and maintains an overall smoky note. Actually, while tasting it, I kept thinking: what a manly bar. It’s not bitter, nor too strong, but that was implied to me by the smokiness and the oak notes, and I kept imagining a man smoking a cigar in his oak room. Yes, I’m odd sometimes. Not as smooth as the rest of the Amedei bars (which are incredibly smooth) but still a lot smoother than most bars.

Rating: 8/10
Weight: 50 grams
Price:  25 Saudi Riyals (~6.5 USD)

 

#9 Porcelana, by Amedei (Dark Chocolate, 70% cacao) “World’s Most Expensive Chocolate”

Probably the highlight of this review, and… WOW. Just, wow… quite possibly the best dark chocolate I have ever tasted. If you’re not a fan of dark chocolate, don’t expect to appreciate this but I would still be very surprised if you don’t. Absolutely worthy of its title, this chocolate is absolute heaven. The aroma of this chocolate is surprisingly very sweet, and pure. The melt is EXTREMELY smooth, it’s as if you’re eating milk chocolate. Not ashy, not acidic.  I loved the flavor of roasted almonds in this bar, and the great aftertaste. I would absolutely buy this again even though it’s relatively expensive.  (How expensive? 200 grams of this beauty would set you back 200+ Riyals. Most high quality chocolate bars would only set you back 50 Riyals, max.) The reason for that is that the source of their beans is Chuao, which is known for having VERY limited produce, and extremely high quality beans.

Rating: 10/10
Weight: 50 grams
Price: 52 Riyals (~14 USD)

#10 Corazon del Ecuador, by Duffy’s (Dark Chocolate, 83% cacao)

While I didn’t like the waxy melt of this chocolate, it had a very good flavor and it surprised me as I usually don’t like 80+% cacao bars for they are far too robust for my taste. The main flavors are citrus, raisin, and coffee. I would definitely try their other lower cacao percentage bars some time in the future. I would not recommend this unless you like quite strong dark chocolate.
Rating: 7.5/10
Weight: 80 grams
Price:  27 Riyals (7 USD)

The Michel Cluizel Chocolate Tasting Box

Two of these were already tasted above: Maralumi Lait, and Mangaro. Therefore, you’ll only see five chocolates reviewed below. You can – of course – buy any of these individually as bars.

#11 Mangaro Lait, by Michel Cluizel (Milk Chocolate, 50% cacao)

The flavor note that stands out the most in this chocolate is tobacco; followed by VERY subtle citrus. Could it be cherries or another sour berry? Perhaps. This makes a very good go-to milk chocolate for those who usually prefer dark chocolate. While this was satisfying and delicious, I prefer the dark chocolate version of this bar, as I reviewed it above.

Rating: 7.5/10

#12 Concepcion, by Michel Cluizel (Dark Chocolate, 66% cacao)

A very interesting chocolate. The flavors were so layered and complex, it took me a while to realize what they were. What first stands out is the sourness though it’s not very sour; it’s still a very sweet dark chocolate. Not bitter at all. One of my favorites from the box.

Rating: 8/10

#13 Los Ancones, by Michel Cluizel (Dark Chocolate, 67% cacao)

I don’t know what went wrong with this, but I did not like this as much as I thought. The melt mouthfeel was a bit sticky which can be unappealing. I also disliked the strong olive taste that exists in this chocolate. Did not click with me.

Rating: 4/10

#14 Vila Gracinda, by Michel Cluizel (Dark Chocolate, 67% cacao)

This had a bit of a dirty taste; which is very odd. But allow me to explain, the flavor was a combination of wet tobacco, wood, licorice, with a hint of coffee and perfume. It lacked the refreshing taste some chocolate has. Not one of my favorites, but it wasn’t bad either.

Rating: 5.5/10

#15 Maralumi, by Michel Cluizel (Dark Chocolate, 64% cacao)

I reviewed the milk chocolate version of this above, and I’m not sure if I prefer this more. Tasted quite fresh; though I didn’t like the initial taste, the finish is good in this one. It makes you want to try another piece.

Rating: 7/10

In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed this very light review of my recent purchase of good chocolate, like I enjoyed tasting them. Okay, maybe a lot less would still be good. 😀 And if you have any suggestions for amazing chocolate, leave them down below!

I now have a new favorite chocolate manufacturer: Amedei. Very, very good. The best I’ve had. I even dare say it’s better than Valrhona. 😉

 



5 thoughts on “15 Premium Chocolates: Tasted and Reviewed!”

  • Great post! I liked that you added a tasting guideline.
    I don’t have a sweet tooth but when I am in the mood for chocolate, I always pick a 70% Cacao bar.

    • My favorite chocolate bars seem to be in that range of cacao percentage, as well! Not a lot of people feel the same. It pains me when someone only thinks of ‘bitter’ when they taste dark chocolate.
      Thank you, Rawyah. 😀

  • what a great review!
    I’m in love with dark chocolate!

    I just have one question, where can I find any of those brands in Riyadh?
    or do I have to order them online!

    • Thank you! I love dark chocolate, too. And the fact it’s a million times healthier doesn’t hurt either.
      I don’t think any of these is available in Riyadh. Michel Cluizel used to be available but not anymore. You have to order it online.

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