Tuesday, July 01, 2008

El Rey Mijao Chocolate Oscuro

I first read about Chocolates El Rey, C.A. a while ago, and found out more about the company before I even tasted any of their product. El Rey was established in 1929, and is almost a unique chocolatier, in that they create chocolate bars from cacao beans grown in the same country, in this case Venezuela, where the manufacturing plant resides (in other words, like a lot of wineries who produce wine from grapes they grow themselves, El Rey grows their own cacao beans and produces chocolate from them; too, like wine, each chocolate bar contains only cacao beans from one varietal, in this case, Mijao). Most cacao beans are bought up by a few large chocolatiers, who produce the chocolate to resell to smaller chocolatiers, they make the final product, so I admire El Rey for controlling the whole process. Despite this control of the chocolate-making process, it requires good cacao to make good chocolate, and the beans from Venezuela are some of the best in the world, the varietal available is the aromatic and flavourful Criollo bean, along with Trinitario and Forastero. At one time, in the 1920s, Venezuela was the biggest cacao producer in the world, though recently they have slipped to 13th; Jorge Redmond Schlageter, CEO of Chocolates El Rey, C.A., wants to bank on the quality of Venezuelan cacao to increase his sales, both within South America and into the United States and Europe, and Venezuela's standing in the world of chocolate.

Getting to the nitty-gritty of this particular El Rey chocolate bar, the cacao content is only at 61%. The ingredient listing is good, save for the soya lecithin and the natural vanilla flavour (which is fairly standard in most chocolate bars), the rest is chocolate liquour, sugar and cocoa butter. This bar suffered from the cocoa butter separating already, there was a white sheen on the surface, but this normally does not affect the flavour.

How does it taste? Pretty good, clean, dark chocolate with a good finish and a good fragrant smell, but certainly not wonderful. I would like to try more of this chocolate, and more of El Rey's chocolate.

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