Friday, November 20, 2009

Francois Pralus: Djakarta

I suppose this is the French way of spelling Jakarta -- that's the capital of Indonesia, an archipelago that rests on the equator somewhere between Australia and South Asia. In other words, a perfect place to grow cocoa beans! I got this bar at Fallon & Byrne in Dublin -- same as last week's -- and it wasn't a hard choice at all because I've never encountered single-origin Indonesian chocolate before. And what a pleasant encounter it was.

Francois Pralus: Djakarta
Cocoa content: 75%
Notable ingredients: cocoa from Ghana*
Origin: Jakarta, Indonesia

You read right. Pralus indeed admits to adding Ghanan (Ghanain?) cocoa beans to this so-called ''single-origin'' product. Why? Apparently the acidity of the beans needed to be balanced out by the ''fresh, woody'' flavor of the African beans. Now, I feel pretty confident that the bar is composed mostly of Indonesian beans -- otherwise, why the name -- but I'm not really so sure if we should call this a single-origin bar.

Pralus -- a French chocolatier, obviously -- has an extensive set of single-origin bars ranging from the predictable (Republique Dominicaine) to the kind of out-there (Papouasie, otherwise known as Papua New Guinea.) Pralus comes from a line of elite Parisian chocolatiers, and he owns his own cocoa plantation in Madagascar. All this snobbery, however, is balanced out by the ridiculous pictures of him on his website. Man knows how to pose.

The first thing I noticed upon tasting this bar was that it was one of the hardest, snappiest bars I've ever tasted -- this, of course, points to careful production and a lack of impurities. The back of the package advertised ''mushroom aromas,'' which I thankfully didn't notice. Another pleasant realization was that the acidity of the beans was certainly present, but not unpleasant or overwhelming like a certain bar from Ghana that I knew and didn't love. Funny, how that bar seemed overly acidic and yet Ghanain beans were used to correct the acidity of Indonesian beans! I think it shows that all of this is bullshit -- kind of.

So, basically, not too acidic, very well made, and really quite good. B+.


  1. I'm imagining the photo shoot I'm going to hold for you.

  2. could you pose with wink in a similar fashion?