I got this bar at McCambridge's in Galway (again.) They're starting to put out a massive Christmas spread and the chocolate collection is suffering a little bit for it, but there are still a handful of bars that I have not yet tried. McCambridge's has about 3 Valrhona bars at any given time -- this is certainly the milkiest, which works for me because I've had a sweet tooth recently. Here we go:
Cocoa content: 33%
Notable ingredients: n/a
This is probably one of the only if not the first single-origin milk chocolate bar I've blogged about here. Valrhona is one of those companies that pretty much only works with single-origin beans, and boasts a single-origin collection that rivals Pralus's. I think Madagascar is a first for me -- but it's hard to really get a sense for the taste of the beans when so much cocoa butter and sugar is mixed in.
Valrhona is an old French chocolate company based in Lyon. They don't just make chocolate, though -- they also maintain L'Ecole du Grand Chocolate, which is a chocolate school for professional chefs in France. They sell bars in a lot of nice speciality food stores in the U.S., but they're a lot easier to find in Europe -- and also they're cheaper here.
Tanariva is really, really good milk chocolate. The box, as you can see, says "doux & caramelise," and this chocolate really has a caramelized edge to it, moreso than other good milk bars I've had in the past. I'm guessing it's because this bar counts natural vanilla extract among its minor ingredients. Most bars use vanillin, which is a synthetic vanilla substitute. I also loved how this bar was divided into pieces. The whole thing was a square, and the pieces were organized on a grid-pattern of depressed lines, but the lines were all curvy and warped such that some pieces were smaller than others and some pieces had a rounded edge. That made it a little hard to share equitably with friends, but joyful nonetheless.
My sweet tooth has been sufficiently satisfied and we'll be back to black next time. A-.