In a perfect world, Valrhona’s Guanaja Grué would be one of my primary go-to chocolates. In that same world, I wouldn’t still be dealing with a non-healing toe which, despite two surgeries and going-on-a-year of being problematic, continues to plague me. I’d have a pet pug that didn’t shed, pistachios would grow everyday on a bonsai by my bed, and I wouldn’t sometimes feel lonely at night. On the plus side, in my perfect world I’d have the same wonderful family I have now, the same beloved blog-and-physical-world friends lighting up my life, and I’d be writing as much, if not more, than I currently do… except maybe I’d be getting paid to do so.
For the moment, though, these are pipe dreams. And therefore while I adore the rich, rich, rich chocolatey nature of Valrhona’s Guanaja chocolate, I can’t find it here in Australia.
Guess I’d best just reminisce and make do, then.
Valrhona Guanaja Grué
From the moment I unwrapped this glossy dark French creation, I knew I was looking at one heckuva chocolate bar. Or, to be more specific, I was inhaling one. I don’t have the best nose in the world for scents, so the fact that the Guanaja overwhelmed and excited me with its ultra chocolatey perfume boded well. I feel a bit ridiculous reiterating how “chocolatey” this chocolate was, but that’s truly the most apt description. It’s a complex chocolate, for sure, but it’s also simply the epitome, the manifestation, the reality of what you expect chocolate to taste like.
Because this is my chocolate party and I’ll rabbit on if I want to, I’m going to give a bit more detail about what makes Valrhona’s Guanaja so deeply satisfying and pleasurable. First, the aroma has notes of cedar, smoke, and raspberry, and these translate into the taste without ever overpowering the cocoa flavours.
The nibs (the grué) are crisp and crunchy, contributing bitter coffee tones whilst accentuating the Guanaja’s soft wood flavours. The cacao content is 70%, yet the chocolate is not bitter, acidic, or tangy in the way that Lindt’s 70%, for example, can be. In fact, even with the assertive punch of the nibs, I find this chocolate rather sweet, with hints of molasses and brown sugar.
If you’ll forgive me writing what I know many people think of as silliness, I might jot down a few of the complex flavours that emerged during my various tastings of the Guanaja Grué. As well as the aforementioned wood, raspberry, molasses, and brown sugar notes, I tasted fudgy brownies, toast, blackberries, long blacks, earth, a slight tang akin to mascarpone, bourbon vanilla, and honey.
Yet for all these layers of flavour, the best description of the Guanaja Grué would involve words such as silky smooth, unctuous, lingering, rich, and ultimately, undoubtedly, chocolatey.
If only someone would start shipping me cartons of this on a regular basis, I could then concentrate on tracking down my self-replenishing pistachio bonsai. Is that really so much to ask?