Tag Archives: Amano

Tasting the Mysterious and Elusive Amano Cuyagua Dark Chocolate

Amano makes two exceptional limited edition dark chocolate bars:  Cuyagua and Montanya.  Both use relatively rare cacao beans of the Criollo variety from Venezuela, a place that has achieved the reputation of producing the world’s best beans.  The Cuyagua bar starts with cacao from the secluded Cuyagua Valley not far from the Caribbean sea.  Amano Artisan Chocolate then transforms the beans into small batches of incredible chocolate.
Since Amano takes their chocolate seriously, they have made it easy for us to taste and compare their bars by keeping the cacao content at a level 70% for all of them.  This allows you to focus on the pure flavor that’s derived from cacao origin, bean variety and the skillful chocolate making that Amano does best.  The Cuyagua bar included a mini tasting guide that provides suggestions on how to taste fine chocolate.

For an introduction to Amano, see this earlier chocolate review on Amano’s single-origin Bali chocolate, Jembrana.


















The box art on Amano Cuyagua Dark Chocolate is a painting of a cacao flower

WHAT:  Amano Cuyagua Single-origin Dark Chocolate.  70% Cacao. 56g.  Ingredients: Cacao beans, pure cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole vanilla beans.  Kosher Dairy. Where to buy Amano Cuyagua Dark Chocolate.

WHEN:  Jan 8, 2011


AROMA: Honey, yogurt, herbals, ham, vanilla.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: cloves, licorice, butter.

MIDDLE TASTE:  Cantaloupe, cloves, blueberry, raspberries (elusive), grapes, cacao fruit, marshmallow.

FINISH:  Coffee, watermelon, caramel, banana, nutmeg, plantain, light cedar at very end.  This dark chocolate continues to evolve and show a different facet with each bite.  I could go on and on with more flavors, but I’ve finished half the bar and that’s about my quota.

TEXTURE: I’ve decided to coin a new term: Amano Smooth.  There is a particular smoothness to this bar with no discernable particles – the chocolate just melts away as you chase every bit of flavor slowly from your mouth.















A chocolate tasting in progress:  Amano's tasting guide, a notebook, and, of course, the chocolate.

The ingredients for a chocolate tasting: Amano's tasting guide, a notebook, and, of course, the chocolate.

LAST BITE – Cuyagua  can be summed up as dark, mysterious and elusive.  It’s also a late bloomer of sorts – starting off more closed in the initial taste then evolving into complexity that’s worth waiting for.  Each piece seemed to produce new flavors not experienced in the first.  The raspberry notes I found on the first bite disappeared until much later when I had given my pallet a rest and cleanse with a lot of soda water.  The of depth of flavors I found with each bite was really amazing.  If you try this, experiment with how long you wait between tastes (if you can stand it) and see if you can’t recapture some of the earlier flavors or if it just evolves into something new.  Have fun, but don’t be surprised if half the bar is gone before you have a grip on the flavors of this elusive chocolate.

Disclosure:  A distributor was kind enough to send me this bar without knowing what I would do with it.  I’m happy to provide my objective and unbiased review using the same methods that I’ve applied to the previous reviews on Koko Buzz.

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Event Alert: The Northwest Chocolate Festival

The 2010 Northwest Chocolate Festival will be held October 23rd and 24th at the Seattle Center.  The show will highlight some of our favorite chocolate makers including Amano Artisan Chocolate, Theo Chocolate and Taza Chocolate.   Besides some exquisite chocolate tastings, the two day event will feature home cooking demos by local chefs, educational lectures, bean-to-bar workshops, wine and beer tasting, and a Saturday-night gala party.

The show is open to families with kids for the daytime events.

Tickets:  $12.50 for an adult day pass and $5 for kids.

Location: The Seatle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109

For directons and more details, see the  official website for the event.