Sometimes packaging confuses me…especially when it’s in a foreign language. Is this an “E” bar or a “P” bar?! Well, this is MY project; so, like any good writer, I’ll just “bend the data” to fit my needs 😉 (Hopefully you realize that last sentence is my attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor!)
Legend says that this area of Colombia was entirely a jungle when settlers first arrived in the mid-to-late 1800s. These settlers thought the lush vegetation looked like a garden, hence the Spanish name: “The Garden.” According to Wikipedia, El Jardín was declared a parish in 1871 and declared a town in 1882. From what I’ve read, the buildings and architecture of this town and municipality have remained mostly unchanged in 140 years and one of the main sources of their economy is tourism (there are 40 hotels, whereas other towns only have 10!)
Based on maps I’ve seen online, El Jardín is located in the Northwest part of Colombia, specifically in the Southwest region of the department of Antioquia (I assume that “departments” are like what we call “states” here in the U.S.) I like that the front of the neon-yellow/green packaging shows a dot on the map; however, it doesn’t quite match what I’ve seen, so maybe the Plantation is in a different location than the town?!
Although you’re not really supposed to, I stuck my nose into the thin, silver inner foil wrapper after slicing open the top. The aroma reminded me of honey, though the bar itself smelled like roasted coffee.
The reddish brown bar (surprisingly light in color for 69%), made up of 15 identically sized rectangles, is emblazoned with 9 stylized cacao pods and oddly spaced lettering for the company name/logo. Try as I might using online translation tools, I was stumped by the term “Cacaofèvier” until I checked in with my French language expert, Estelle Tracy from 37 Chocolates. She mentioned that this was a made up word essentially meaning “bean-to-bar maker.”
Michel Cluizel must have a six-head depositor for their molding machine since there were that many swirls on the back of the bar. Note: I tweaked the color a bit on the photo below to make it “pop” a bit more.
When segmenting tasting morsels, there was a sharp/brittle snap and I could see nooks and crannies (air bubbles) at the breaking point.
The mouthfeel was creamy and the melt was slow and even. Initially, the flavor was nutty and reminded me of a mocha. Then there were some caramel or dairy notes during the melt, ending with some peppery notes at the back of my throat + tongue. On a second tasting, the flavor reminded me of red fruit (berries) with flashes of peanut butter. Overall, the finish is hard to describe! I wouldn’t call it minty or menthol (like the packaging mentions), but I would definitely say it was refreshing.
Michel Cluizel holds a special place in my heart since his bars were my introduction to fine chocolate back in 2006-2007! Time flies! It’s been about 10 years since I’ve tasted his chocolates, so I was thrilled to find a bar that fit in with my Alphabet project. Do you have a favorite Michel Cluizel bar? Leave me a comment below!??
For more information on Michel Cluizel’s extensive product line, please visit their website: https://cluizel.us/