Friday, January 23, 2009

Stay tuned...

The FedEx man rang my doorbell this morning, bearing a small package for me. I had no idea what it was - I certainly wasn't expecting anything. Then, as I looked at the sender on the label, I started to remember...

Back in mid-December, Foodie Bride had emailed me to alert me to the last Blake Makes giveaway for 2008. I entered with a comment, having no idea of whether I had acted in time or not, and then promptly forgot about it until the box of Amano Artisan Chocolate showed up on my doorstep this morning!

If you haven't heard of Amano before (and I'll admit, I hadn't), you should check them out - their process pretty nifty. All their chocolate is made in small batches, using antique 1900s machinery from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. They are one of a very small group of companies in the U.S. that manufacture their own chocolate directly from the bean.

These people take their chocolate very seriously - how many other Chocolate Tasting Guides have you ever seen out there?

So what did today's surprise box o'chocolate arrive bearing? Three different bars, all 70% dark chocolate. Ocumare, made from beans harvested from the central coast of Venezuela, is their flagship bar. It is said to have both fruity and floral notes, as well as some raisin, smokey, and woody notes that may come out. Madagascar is, not surprisingly, made from beans harvested in Madagascar - but the beans are grown from the offspring of cacao trees that were brought to Madagascar from Venezuela at the end of the 19th century. It is said to be the chocolate bar for those who don't care for dark chocolate, with a fruity, plum-like flavor, along with some slight citrus hints at the end. Last, but certainly not least, is Jembrana. This is the special bar, I am told. It is made from beans harvested on the southwest coast of Bali. Amano is the only company in the U.S. importing cacao beans from Bali. It is said to have a deep chocolate flavor and a gentle nuttiness, with some coffee-like hints as well.

Obviously sampling this chocolate and giving it it's proper due is going to be no small task. Stay tuned for the reviews of our introduction to Amano. In the meantime, any suggestions as to how best to savor and review this fantastic treat are certainly welcome!

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