The Origin The chocolate contained in this tasting box is produced by El Rey, perhaps the most famous Venezuelan chocolatier, and is made from fair-trade cacao beans from small and large-scale growers in Venezuela. El Rey’s trading partners deal directly with a cacao trading cooperative that also works with growers in promoting sustainable soil management and best agricultural and post-harvest practices.
Each tasting bag contains a single-origin chocolate sample of the cacao variety known as Carenero Superior. This intensely fermented cacao is grown in the Barlovento region, in central northern Venezuela, and is one of the most exquisite examples of the Trinitario cacao bean. Its phenotype is the combined result of the genetic makeup of the cacao, the environment, and complex agronomical practices that require building technical skills and standardizing processes to achieve excellence. Every chocolate batch undergoes rigorous quality controls that cover the production process from the plantation to the final product. The selection process considers only perfectly mature pods and chooses beans that have achieved a high degree of fermentation (≥ 80%), thus reducing bitterness and astringency and bringing out the sophisticated flavours of a true Carenero Superior.
To blend or not to blend: That is the question For centuries, chocolatiers have blended cacao from various parts of the world to make chocolates that fit a particular flavor and aroma profile. The process is similar to other creative endeavors like perfume blending or wine making. Bulk or “basic” Forastero cacao is treated as a blank canvas upon which single notes of flavor and aroma coming from beans of various prices and qualities are applied to create the desired effect. More often than not, European chocolate manufacturers select flavor grade beans like the magnificent Venezuelan Criollos and Trinitarios to mix with less flavorful Forastero beans from Brazil, Africa or Asia. While blending is a time-honored tradition, exploring the use of a single type of cacao is the new frontier in chocolate making. Having access to regional varieties of Venezuelan cacao of exceptional quality and flavor complexity, El Rey chooses not to blend to let the land do the talking and to allow the intrinsic qualities of select Venezuelan cacao to take center stage.
Flavor Properties A refined Trinitario, Carenero Superior has been highly appreciated since colonial times for its complex flavor notes of fruits, flowers, nuts, and spice. The pure Carenero Superior exhibits a light acidity and an intense chocolate tone as well as aromas of peach, red fruits and tobacco. This tasting experience will explore distinct single origin chocolates from the Carenero Superior variety.
Aniversario 56% Milk Chocolate One of the darkest milk chocolates available in the world. Undertones of wood and a hint of fruitiness, with a long, full extension of cacao flavor.
58.5% Bucare Bucare is a versatile, balanced dark chocolate with pleasant tones of dried fruit. Moderately acidic, Bucare has a long, lingering mouthfeel with great character and texture.
61% Mijao Mijao is a smooth dark chocolate that is neither too acidic or bitter. With hints of apricot and plum, Mijao is less sweet and has a silky mouthfeel produced by its high cacao butter content.
70% Gran Samán Gran Samán is bold, earthy, and complex, with the most pronounced bitterness and the refreshing acidity of mangoes, passion fruit, and pineapples. Wild and adventurous, it is noticeably stronger and full of flavor.