After finding Valrhona's milk Jivara bar extremely delicious I really wanted to explore their bars with higher cocoa percentages to experience the true deep cocoa flavours that they are supposed to offer. The first bar that I managed to get my hands on was their Caraibe bar, made from Caribbean cocoa from Trinitario beans. On opening the bar the aroma isn't particularly strong; with some dark bars you get you are immediately hit with the acidic scents of fruits but in this bar the smell is a lot more subtle, as in fact I found the taste was.
Again the design of Valrhona's bars are impeccable, the unique structure of the bar is something that really appeals to me; with its pieces almost breaking off in a crisp jigsaw puzzle like fashion. I found that this bar offered a very drying melt, almost as if you had inhaled a puff of smoke and let it melt on your tongue! It certainly isn't one of the creamy or buttery dark chocolate bars; but more one that presents itself with a rustic smoky background flavour , offering hints of dried fruits.
The bar starts of quite bitter but as the melt progresses it gets milkier and sweeter, as it starts to show woody & smoky notes, before finishing a final flavour of raisins/cranberries begins emerging just as the piece of chocolate comes to an end. If I had to compare this bar to something I would have to say that it probably reminds me of walking through a forest in autumn whilst someone has been burning a bonfire; it has that sort of smoky rustic forest feel to it and although each taste layer is quite subtle there are quite a lot of different layers to be explored and this is something that I really enjoyed about Valrhona's Caraibe, it certainly does what is says on the tin..very well balanced!
Would I buy it again? Hmm I probably wouldn't jump singing from the rooftops that I had found my perfect dark chocolate bar but it was pleasant and if someone was eating it around me I certainly wouldn't refuse a square but I don't think I would go out to specifically buy it.
Taste - 8.4/10 - Although each flavour offered was subtle there were a lot of tastes to be explored with each one offering its own little touch to the overall feel of the bar.
Texture - 6.6/10 - I wasn't a huge fan of the smoky almost drying melt of this chocolate bar, and although the chocolate was smooth and pristine the melt let me down slightly, I wouldn't really describe it as "velvety".
Appearance - 7.9/10 - Valrhona's bars always look beautiful & elegant.
Price - 7/10 - I think I paid about £4 for this; not too bad for a good quality bar of dark chocolate if I say so myself.
Overall - 7.5/10 - Nice but didn't hit the spot as much as their Jivara bar.
WHERE TO BUY?
I picked this bar up at Waitrose but you can find Valrhona dotted all over the place; especially in some big department stores and on www.chocolatetradingco.com
I could definitely see this bar appealing to the older generation and for some reason I seem to think men more than women; I don't know why just something about the smoky flavour it offers seems a lot more masculine.