Maison Bonnat has 2 special treasures in its single origin bar collection, both of which I discovered in a particular way.
On one of my trips to Dusseldorf in Germany, I often jumped into the Manufaktum (=’made by hand’) store, a high luxury design & gift concept, which also hosts a delicatessen corner. Bonnat is al spread over the main counter, a view that makes you easily drooling… To my surprise Manufaktum must be such a good reseller that they co-launched an exclusive limited edition ‘house-bar’ made by Bonnat. It’s an inspiring 100% Criollo Madagascar bar, only available at Manufaktum.
The other novelty is the “Cacao Real del Xoconuzco”, an exotic name for a truly ‘original’ bar. I kindly got the bar gifted as a ‘secret extra’ from the Bonnat Team on the 2008 Salon du Chocolat in Paris, after I bought bags full of bars at their booth first off course.
It is actually produced from the cacao variety that was the first ever cacao bean cultivated by people, i.e. the Mayans some 3000 years ago. It was equally this Criollo variety that travelled across the ocean to Europe to be the first cacao savourated by kings and emperors centuries ago… Master chocolatier Bonnat now claims to re-launch the first bar with the “Cacao Real del Xoconuzco” since its last use in 1850.
Tasting the bars
The Xoconuzco smells wonderfully chocolaty and has subtle smoky tones. The Criollo typically has more floral and a strong fruity palate. Both of them offer a nice tasting sensation in time, one that doesn’t shake too much, but softly swells along your mouth and releases its specific notes. The Criollo bar releases its taste pretty quick though, whereas the Real bar only at the end comes to full exploration.
It’s nice to see the difference in color too here, I enhanced the photo a little though to make it more clear. The Criollo typically is more red-toned, the Real bean maintains the darker cacao color, it’s just as like wines.
If I had to make a choice I’d choose the Real as winner. Though the “Manufaktum Madagascar 100% Criollo” has a more upfront taste, the “Cacao Real del Xoconuzco” makes you rediscover an original bean, and has a more darker, woody, chocolaty body. After all it’s all about the fun of discovering single origin cacao!
(More pictures on my Flickr album)