March 5th: Amano 70% Dark Chocolate Madagascar / Ocumare / Jembrana

At the back end of last year I was contacted by the Amano Artisan Chocolate company who offered me the chance to sample some of the chocolate from their range. Amano are a US based firm and form their bars from only four core ingredients: 'Cocoa Beans, Pure Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter and Whole Vanilla Beans'. They claim that they import their beans from some of the finest sources from around the world, with Madagascar, Ocumare and Jembrana being the origins of the bars I reviewed today. To find out a load more about Amano you can click HERE or either of the company banners I have placed in this review.

Now lets get on to more important stuff ... the actual chocolate!! I must say I was very impressed with the attention shown to detail in the presentation. Each of the bars came in 52.0g packs that I shared with a few friends to compare tasting notes with. The bars came in delightful glossy boxes that really had a premium product look and feel. Inside the bars were fantastically protected by gold foil layers, which really kept in the fresh smelling cocoa that erupted prior to breaking the foil seals. The aromas from all three bars varied little but were very forthcoming in their dark and tempting sensuous scents. A magnificent touch displayed on all three bars was the very intricate logo inscriptions on each of the blocks - it really gave the feeling that the bars had been carefully handcrafted.

Below are the tasting notes taken for each of the three different variants:

Amano 70% Dark Chocolate Madagascar:

Kcal 290 Fat 24.0g Fat(sats) 14.0g Carbs 28.0g

The flavours from this bar nicely developed as the smooth melt progressed.

The taste nicely took shape with some smooth vanilla and cocoa flavours that grew in their intensity. These more mild flavours transformed into some more earthy, coffee type notes as the chocolate took a more liquid form The longing impression left in the mouth was what I would describe as fudgy.

Overall a mild mannered chocolate that grew in richness as the flavours developed. A nice progressive dark chocolate with a sustained aftertaste.

8.7 out of 10

Amano 70% Dark Chocolate Ocumare:

Kcal 290 Fat 24.0g Fat(sats) 14.0g Carbs 28.0g

This chocolate did not quite share the same slow methodical nature of the first bar, but transformed more radically at the latter stages of the melt.

The initial flavours were similarly milky and cocoa dominated and showed little signs of development until the aftertaste. The flavours left in the mouth were noticeably more acidic - and were described by other co-tasters as leaving a 'red wine' type impression. I must say I found it noticeably more tart myself, it was like a red berry fruit sort of influence.

Overall the slightly soured notes in the aftertaste were not preferred in comparison with the other bars, but hardly ruined the overriding great taste of the chocolate. Still very good but not the best of the three.

8.6 out of 10

Amano 70% Dark Chocolate Jembrana:

Kcal 290 Fat 24.0g Fat(sats) 14.0g Carbs 28.0g

This was the favourite of all three bars tried and was certainly the most distinct in its flavours.

The initial cocoa, milky flavours were again substantiated well, though the milkiness seemed to gain creaminess as the melt progressed. As the chocolate developed from its solid state there was a very striking kick of caramel and honey, which certainly made for a very agreeable, friendly set of flavours. The sweet influence left a very unique floral type impression in the aftertaste, which made the flavours not only very pleasurable but also very satisfying.

Overall this was unanimously decided as the best of what was a great tasting range of dark chocolate bars.

8.9 out of 10

I must say I was quite sceptical at the quality of these bars before trying them, though I have well and duly been proved wrong ... these were exceptional. These reviews may come across as quite pretentious but I can assure you the differences between the bars were highly noticeable. Personally I would recommend any one of these three bars for dark chocolate fans - they each had their own individual merits. However, if I had to choose one it would have to be the Jembrana bar due to its unique combination of sweet but rich flavours. Amano have produced a fine range of chocolate bars here, and if your a dark chocolate fan I would suggest you give them a try.