The single most awe-inspiring moment of my chocolate reviewing life was two years ago yesterday. Then I received a delivery from someone I had never heard from. That clear plastic case contained the most amazing chocolates I have ever tasted. To this day those Patisserie Vercruysse ganaches have only ever been rivalled by the Demarquette Royal Merina ganaches – seeing as I’ve reviewed about 250 chocolate products in that time, that’s some achievement. Today I'm fortunate enough to have another selection - this time based on an amazing selection of origins and chocolate makers.
Geert shares my absolute fascination with the world of chocolate. We both share a passion for finding new and unique chocolate, and this shines through in the ganaches I have before me. You've got a Marou Vietnamese, Åkessons Indonesia, Madre Dominican Republic, Daintree Estates Australian, El Ceibo Bolivian and Original Beans (which I believe is Congolese) ganaches all encased in 68% Marañòn Fortunato N°4 Peru. If that doesn't make your head spin with excitement I don't know what will.
The first was the Marou Tiền Giang 70% which was as smooth and velvety as you could possibly wish for. The flavours exhibited rich red fruits and mango. In fact, I'm dumb-struck. The flavours are so pure and strident that it doesn't actually leave much for me to say.
The Daintree Estates 45% milk ganache was next and I adored it when I tried the original bar previously. It has such a unique flavour that I've not seen any other maker come anywhere near in the past. It seems to be a cross between caramel and fudge. It’s certainly sweet, beautiful and a texture that will rival any other ganache ever created.
If you wanted a brutish, dark, acidic and flavoursome ganache the El Ceibo would be exactly what you're looking for. There seems to be so much flavour coming out of such a small space that it all seemed buffered on my taste buds. They were overloaded with direct sweetness that I found it difficult to brake the individual flavours down, but what they did do is linger - imparting their flavours during the melt and long after too. I found myself moving my tongue around my mouth in search of the remnants of flavour.
The Original Beans Cru Virunga Congo 70% ganache was a completely different affair. At first it seemed to have sharp mustard-like characteristic but this quickly transformed into a honey-like characteristic. There still remained an unusual earthiness after the melt but that gave it even more of an 'adult' edge.
The Madagascar dark ganache 64% & Wildcrafted Long Pepper Bali was just as special, but also unique. The defining characteristic of this one was the pepper which was perfectly balanced against the dark Indonesian ganache. It managed to poke its head over the natural chocolate flavours, but not exert such a direct spice flavour that it contradicted the theme of the selection.
And oh!! The Republic Dominican 70% ganache with fresh cacao pulp out of this world. Cacao pulp may be and odd thing to add into the ganache but the beauty of the flavours was just all-consuming. The flavours are long gone now as I masticated it to within an inch of its life in the hunt for more of its heady flavour. But on reflection, I recall pomegranate, or something along those lines but significantly more intense. It’s just awesome. There were another six in the box, but I physically couldn’t take any more and felt it would be an injustice to force myself to continue. Geert has certainly improved in the variety of the ganaches he creates, but I do feel that he hasn’t improved on the quality – purely because I don’t think anybody could.