Galler Chocolate was founded in 1976 by brothers Pierre and Jean Galler and since then has acquired numerous awards and distinctions, not the least of which is serving as the chocolatier to the Belgian Royal Court. They make bars, tablets and filled chocolates. The bars are generally filled and the tablets are solid chocolate (what we would otherwise call a bar in the US). I decided to go for the dark end of the scale to start, and take a look at this fine 80% tablet.
I had been eagerly awaiting this tasting due to the strong reputation of Galler and the cost of this bar that created a perception of high quality in my mind. Soon after starting the tasting, though, I realized that something was wrong. Although the aroma was an inviting, yet subtle combination of berry and floral notes, the remaining flavors were dull and muted. The online shop that shipped me the bars (who shall remain nameless) had made an error and sent two 80% bars when I had ordered one each of 70% and 80%. Their folly turned out to be a good thing, because I could run down to the chocolate cellar and grab another bar in attempt to salvage the tasting. Unfortunately, the second bar, while improved, still was not OK (both bars had an expiration date of Dec 19, 2009). I considered not posting this tasting, but I think it’s a good learning experience for us all.
Here’s what I think: sometime in the life of this bar, it saw too much heat for too long. When it arrived from the dealer in a Styrofoam cooler, it appeared to be in good condition and today there is no evidence of a sugar or fat bloom (these are not a problem in themselves, but may indicate poor storage). Galler, unlike some producers, condones storage of chocolate in the fridge (in a tightly closed container so that it doesn’t absorb odors) and I agree. I can’t prove the that the online dealer mishandled the product since I don’t know much about their storage, but I can confirm that I monitor temperature and humidity in my chocolate cellar and it’s been at a consistent 60-65F (I take additional measures to stabilize the storage temperature). So, to be fair to Galler, I have not given a rating yet and will buy some more bars from another source and repeat the tasting in the future. I’ve included the tasting notes below just so you can understand what can happen and see that there are some fine flavors remaining in the bar, they are just very weak.
WHAT: Galler Blended Noir 80% Cacao. A blend of beans from the Dominican Republic and Forastero beans from Ecuador. 100g tablet (bar). Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soy lecithin, natural vanilla. Price range: $$$
WHEN: 25 July, 2009
OVERALL RATING: Not rated due to suspected mishandling. Stay tuned for a repeat tasting including their blended 70% cacao.
AROMA: Subtle, but clear strawberry, lavender and tobacco.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Faint blueberry and rose.
MIDDLE TASTE Green beans, bread, grass, faint berry, mushroom.
FINISH: Hay, beeswax.
TEXTURE: Dry, no creaminess.
LAST BITE – One nice feature of the Galler bars are the deep sections. This allows you to easily snap off a bite-size piece without making a mess. They are most likely so deep because some of their bars are filled (and they use the same molds for all bars), but I still found this convenient. Again, my apologies to Galler. I will look to repeat the tasting with fresh bars in the near future. I will also do a more detailed post on chocolate storage and make a recommendation on where you should buy chocolate online.
Treat your chocolate well!
Disclosures: I paid for this chocolate myself.