Like some famous personalities that need only go by their first name (think of Prince, Cher or Madonna), Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé requires no introduction to aficionados of fine chocolate since their molds are visually so distinctive and unique!
The husband and wife team of Zsolt and Katalin started making chocolate confections in Budapest, Hungary in 2004 and they chose the name “Rózsavölgyi” (meaning “from the valley of the roses”) to pay tribute to the neighborhood that they lived in. Soon after Katalin honed her skills learning from various chocolate makers around the world, they knew that switching to bean-to-bar (instead of using other people’s couverture chocolate) would provide them more control over the natural chocolate flavors of their creations. This particular 71% dark chocolate bar is made from Porcelana Criollo beans grown by the Franceschi family in Venezuela.
There is so much to look at and notice on the outer packaging; from every inch of the sturdy cream colored paper decorated with gold foil birds, insects and flowers to the anthropomorphized logo of a single-eyed heart with outstretched arms, wearing a bowler hat.
That endearing logo was intriguing to me, so it was disappointing to read that Katalin (a former graphic designer) had simply drawn this, but no significance was attributed to the image’s various elements.
Removing the informational band from the outer wrapper allows the graphics to be better seen/appreciated.
Another eye-catching item on the packaging is a sticker celebrating their 2015 Bronze Award from the Academy of Chocolate for the best dark chocolate bean-to-bar under 80%.
Gently removing the clear & black logo sticker keeping the paper closed and carefully undoing the precise origami-like folds, another cheerful heart-logo sticker greets you from the inside, keeping the parchment paper inner wrapper closed.
Now for the moment of truth…would the gorgeous mold that reminds me of Batchelder fireplace tiles from the American Arts and Crafts movement era be intact or would the square bar be split into multiple pieces?!
Ta da…the glossy, symmetrically decorated reddish-brown bar was pristine, aside from some minor scuff marks and evidence of air bubbles.
My initial impressions of the aroma ranged from floral, fruity, reminiscent of raisins to lightly baked rye bread. It seemed like such a shame to break into such a beautiful mold…but it had to be done! The chocolate itself seemed to flex under the pressure of the knife instead of breaking sharply; I attribute that to the current heat wave, though I’ve seen other Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé bars also described as “bendy.”
Time and temperature certainly make a difference. This morning, after taking several photos of the bar, the snap was dull/soft…however, revisiting the bar just now, after keeping the chocolate in a wine fridge at 65 degrees for several hours, the snap is sharp and well-defined.
The mouthfeel is smooth and the segments melt evenly in the mouth. Porcelana is known to be mild and subtle, but to me the initial taste was tangy and mildly acidic/tart. My second taste was more earthy and dry. Both tastes had a long, almost woody aftertaste/finish.
Now I’m on a mission to find more of their offerings, especially their hot Hungarian paprika inclusion bar, which Matt Caputo from A Priori (a specialty food importer & distributor) said reminded him of “goulash-meets-chocolate” around 2:23 of this YouTube video!
In addition to single-origin tablets and flavored bars, Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé also sells hot chocolate mixes, bonbons, truffles, dragees and more. Hopefully a location near you carries their products, so check out: http://www.rozsavolgyi.com/en/index.php