Monday, October 19, 2015

François Pralus Chocolate: Intended for Indulgence

I recently tasted a line-up of 75% single origin chocolate bars by François Pralus. The most noticeable feature of Pralus chocolate is the high cocoa butter content. The chocolate, upon first bite, is very soft and creamy, with a 'fatty' mouthfeel. And although 'fatty' does not sound like a nice way to describe it, the experience is certainly pleasant, and very much indulgent.

Pralus reminded me of the month I spent tasting dark-milk chocolate earlier this year. When I tasted Bonnat or Michel Cluizel, against any of the other brands, they had a noticeably creamier mouthfeel, and clearly a higher cocoa butter content.

This makes me curious about the cultural influence on chocolate making.  Old school French chocolate brands seem to focus on chocolate as a pleaure ('par plaisir' as was advertised so much about indulgent food when I was living there). Many of the 'new school' chocolate makers focus on minimizing the cocoa butter content, and sticking to 'two-ingredient chocolate' for health benefits or to highlight the flavour of the bean. These two ingredient chocolate bars are often stiffer, with a slower melt-in-the-mouth effect. But Francois Pralus, Bonnat and Michel Cluizel still maintain their indulgent, cocoa butter-rich texture.

Another noticeable feature of Pralus' origin chocolate is the statement of bean type on each package.  Being a fine chocolate lover and a continual learner, I like to be educated about the chocolate on the package. For instance, on the Pralus chocolate bar packages, I learned immediately that the Djakarta bar is made from Criollo and Trinitario type cacao, whereas the Cuban bar is made from Trinitario-only beans, and the Indonesia bar is made from Criollo-only beans. I appreciate the upfront information, so I don't have to spend time requesting it from the company.

Overall, these chocolate bars were exquisite. I loved that they all had the same percentage of cocoa solids (75%), so I could truly focus on and taste the differences between the origin of the cocoa beans. I enjoyed tasting all three of them. I am also looking forward to tasting more of Pralus's chocolate in the future.

Here is a list of the Pralus origin chocolate bars that I tasted, and some tasting notes on each:

François Pralus 'Cuba Trinitario 75%' - the high cocoa butter was quite instantly noticeable, with a creamy taste; and the overall spicy flavour was not at all what I expected from Cuban chocolate.  I am not sure that I have tasted Cuban-origin chocolate until now, but I was expecting something fruity and tropical. A very interesting chocolate.

Ingredients: 75% cocoa, sugar, pure cocoa butter, GMO-free soya lecithin. May contain traces of nuts or milk.

François Pralus 'Djakarta Criollo - Trinitario 75%' - also creamy, bitter, and slightly strange flavour described as woody and mushrooms on the package. I also found a flavour of deep roast and a hint of fruit.



Ingredients: 75% cocoa, sugar, pure cocoa butter, GMO-free soya lecithin. May contain traces of nuts or milk.

François Pralus Indonesie Criollo 75%' - This chocolate is much lighter in colour than most dark chocolates. And upon tasting it, there is an instantly noticeable smokiness, with an aroma of smoked sweetened ham, It was very bold and shocking at first, with a bitter taste. I tasted this directly against Spencer Cocoa's Vanuatu chocolate bar, and I found that Pralus' Indonesia has a much bolder smoke flavour. Spencer's is a milder flavour that hits you on the finish, but lingers quite distinctly as a mild smoke flavour. Pralus' certainly highlights the distinct smoke flavour of Indonesian cacao.

Ingredients: 75% cocoa, sugar, pure cocoa butter, GMO-free soya lecithin. May contain traces of nuts or milk.

For more information about François Pralus and Patisserie Chocolaterie Pralus s.a.s., visit the company website at: https://www.chocolats-pralus.com/en/Francois-Pralus.html.

I purchased each of these chocolate bars online for $6.95 each from La Tablette de Miss Choco, a bean-to-bar chocolate boutique in Montreal: http://boutique.latablette.ca/brand/pralus.

3 comments:

  1. I’m preparing a special surprise for a chocolate lover boyfriend and have been reading your blog with interest in the last few days.
    I especially wanted to say thanks for also listing your resources, since I was about to make an order from the US for things I can actually find more “locally”. Since we’re into organic and he likes no-frills dark chocolate my first loot wants to be a few Pralus single origin bars and a couple of Taza, which I can order from the site you listed (makes more sense than paying pricey shipping, waiting longer and maybe even paying custom duties). In fact I could even take a look at SOMA first, it’s worth a try.
    For something more peculiar I actually placed an order with OrganicFair and to support local for the next time I’m intrigued by Pascha as it’s organic and sports a nice selection: (not sure you actually read the comments on these older posts but) have you tried anything from them?

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    1. Hi! I haven't actually tried anything from Pascha that I can recall, but now that you mention it, I really should! Soma is great for any kind of chocolate lover - they have a good selection from milk to dark chocolate ( and even roasted white chocolate -so delicious!). I hope you find what you are looking for for your boyfriend!
      Lisabeth

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    2. I forgot to check the "notify me" box and only just saw your reply!

      Soma is so dangerously close to home that I'm just lucky we just don't go that way too often, but next time I'll try the roasted white chocolate: sounds cool!
      They also always have interesting items for the holidays, I'm curious what they'll make for Easter, the Valentine special was really lovely (I didn't get it though, just pined over it). I want to focus on single origin bars as they are quite interesting!

      In the end, back in December) I ordered quite a few bars from organicfair (locally I could only find some flavors and not their best, imo) and we had a blast trying a different one each day. The coffee+lemon, pure and the 80% were really good, but we also enjoyed all the other flavors (not much the one with lavender, we just don't like it on chocolate, but it's great on salads).

      Next, I'm going with some Zotter, because their filled bars really intrigue me and then it will be Pralus :).

      Thanks again for your information-filled blog, it's just the kind I like (specialized and with really plenty of info, including Canadian focused ones!).

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