Posts Tagged ‘Toscano Black’

As you know, I do love a culinary challenge!

This one came about when I discovered that my friends at Paesanella are now stocking Amedei chocolate.  Ever since I read Mort Rosenblum’s Chocolate, I’ve been keen to try this brand.

Amedei came about after brother and sister Alessio and Cecilia Tessieri, Italian sellers of baking ingredients, approached Valrhona seeking to distribute their products.   Story has it that Valrhona rejected their request, telling them that Italy wasn’t “capable of appreciating fine French chocolate”.

Furiously insulted, the Tessieris formed Amedei, which almost immediately started producing amazing chocolate.  Their true moment of triumph though, came when Alessio managed to secure exclusive access to the renowned Chuao cacao plantations, locking Valrhona out of their premium source of beans.  It’s a fabulous story – you can read more about it here and here.

Amedei are acknowledged as one of the leading chocolate houses in the world, as well as possibly the most expensive.  At $10 per 50g ($200/kg), it’s definitely a rare indulgence.  But after such a wonderful tale of passion and sustained Italian rage, how could I resist bringing home a couple of blocks to try?

The Toscano Brown, Amedei’s milk chocolate blend, was very nice.

The Toscano Black was sublime.  Big Boy and I particularly enjoyed it, but Pete said, “you know, this reminds me a little of the chocolate you make”.

The gauntlet had been thrown down.

Could I make a chocolate bar which we enjoyed as much as the Toscano Black?  The Amedei bar was a blend, so I thought it might be fun to play around and see what we could come up with.

After a few experiments, I finally arrived at something that we’re all happy with.  Pete and I personally prefer it to the Toscano Black, although Big Boy still prefers the Amedei, as does Dredgey (neighbours who pop in usually get roped into tastings).

The Toscano Black is a serious, sophisticated dark chocolate. In wine terms, it reminds me of old Bordeauxs with their distinctive cigar box and tobacco notes.  It has sweet fruit tones and just enough acidity to add complexity and depth.  It also has an amazing finish – this is a chocolate to be savoured in small pieces, with a taste that lingers in the mouth for many minutes afterwards.

Our home blend has a creamy mouthfeel, good balancing acid, and a strong cocoa flavour with hints of raisin and citrus.  The Tanzanie component contributes robust, slightly woody notes. To me, the blend lacks some of the complexity of the Toscano Black, but I enjoy the flavour profile a little more.  Like the Amedei, it also has a very long finish.

For my friend Gillian (who also reviewed the Toscano Black here) and others who are playing around with chocolate making, our final mix was:

  • 40% Callebaut 811 (54% cacao)
  • 40% Cacao Barry Tanzanie origin chocolate (75% cacao)
  • 20% Callebaut Cocoa Mass (100% cacao)

If my math is correct,  the resultant blend is a dark 72% cacao. Our bars (photo below) work out at $20/kg – definitely more affordable for every day consumption!

If you get a chance to try Amedei chocolate, I’d really recommend you do so.  Too expensive to eat on a regular basis, but perfect as a special occasion treat and conversation starter!

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