Adam Smith from Fog City News in San Francisco–known for its vast and highly curated chocolate selection–just sent me this rave:
“We got the 2012 Vintage bars in (PDF info) and they’re f a b u l o u s. In fact, their flavors are so subtle that it really takes a trained palate to appreciate all the nuances! The 2011 vintage is so new that Valrhona doesn’t even have them listed on their own website yet! Now, I can’t really confirm this, but a Valrhona sales exec told me that we are currently one of the only shops ON THE WEST COAST that sells these bars.”
Straight from the chocolate purveyor’s mouth.
Valrhona was the first company in the world to introduce the concept of a vintage dated chocolate bar in 1998. The first vintage we carried at Fog City News was the 2002, and their annual arrival at the store in the late fall has been an event sort of like the announcement of a cult winery releasing a new vintage. Many factors affect a chocolate bar’s flavor. Over the last few years customers have come to learn about these factors, beginning with: (1) cacao content, then (2) that there are different types of cacao beans, then (3) the countries the particular type of cacao bean was grown in, then (4) the regions within those countries, then finally (5) that there might be specific plantations within those regions renowned for growing and harvesting cacao beans in such a way as to yield a specific flavor! Here, Valrhona is the first company in the world to draw the similarities between wine and chocolate closer by specifying the year of harvest from 3 different plantations, within 3 specific regions, within 3 different countries, using specific cacao beans to render 3 very different tasting 64% dark chocolate bars!