Review: Amano Jembrana
I’m an Amano fan and the reason is simple: Art Pollard makes good chocolate. And when I say he “makes” good chocolate I do mean exactly that. For the unfamiliar, Amano is a bean-to-bar artisan chocolate maker. This particular bar, the Jembrana 70% cacao dark chocolate bar, is the first single-origin bar to use Balinese cacao beans which had me interested from the outset. I was quick to order some to try and they arrived, I believe, on the same day as some sample bars did (oh what a painful wealth of chocolate).
The bar comes in one of Amano’s great little boxes and, being a sucker for good packaging, I fell in love before I even opened it. But open it I did! And I’m glad I did - it’s an interesting bar. The bar itself comes wrapped in gold foil and is well formed (as expected) with a hint of red to the color. I didn’t find anything terribly exotic about the aroma - just some fresh cut wood/sawdust, leather, and a hint of some fruit I can't place - but my sinuses have been having problems and I think that I just can’t smell chocolate as well after wine. The taste has a good full dark chocolate flavor but it's also full of light nuts and blooms into a nice honey-nutty-buttery climax which fades – dryly – to a non-lingering mellow cocoa and honey. It’s really a gentle and accessible dark chocoloate bar with the slight dryness being the only possible issue I can see in winning others over to it. It’s very good and nicely different and I’m going to call it an 8.75 out of 10.
In other Amano news, they’ve started making milk chocolate versions of their Jembrana and Ocumare bars, they sell an array of nibs (and I’m working on finding the right recipe to try them in), and they have a new limited edition bar called Montanya featuring beans from the mountains of Venezuela. Which means, of course, that it’s time for me to order more chocolate.