Updated: Jan 29

Ara Chocolat is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Paris. It was founded by a Venezuelan couple, Andrés and Sabrina. Andrés worked at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants and 5-star hotels in London before starting his journey as a craft chocolate maker. They use biodegradable packaging and renewable energy. Their bars are direct-trade, fair-trade, and 100% vegan.

Origin: Peru

Region: Cuzco

Cacao family: Chuncho, amazónico

Notes: Spices, caramelized pineapple

Ingredients: cocoa nibs, cane sugar, cocoa butter

International Chocolate Awards Bronze 2018

Aroma: pastry, fruity, spicy, floral

Snap: ***

Structure: ** (hardness)

Texture: ***** (very creamy)

Roundness: ****

Sweetness: ****

Aromatic finesse: ****

Acidity: **

Astringency: *

Bitterness: *

Intensity: ****

Complexity: ***

Lenght: ****

Very shiny on the surface but the color is not homogeneous.

On the palate, it reveals flavors like honey, chocolate, vanilla, sweet cinnamon, guanabana fruit undertones (Strawberry-pineapple), CHESTNUT, BAY LEAF, wood.

Surprising flavor profile. Predictable (for the cacao origin) rich and creamy mouthfeel like honey-chocolate to spread. I find it interesting for:

- the alternating sweet-bitter flavors,

- the chestnut and bay leaf distinctive notes,

- the persistent aftertaste,

- the slight acidity (in this case, the fruitness is very soft) with just a touch of astringency in the end.

Again, Peru's Chuncho cacao origin impresses me with the most unpredictable tasting notes.

He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: celebration!

Values expressed in stars from 1 to 8. If the bar is extraordinarily close to perfection, I can go up to 10.