I used to shop at Trader Joe’s for my groceries and I’d see these mini bars of chocolate that were covered in black paper with either a purple or blue stripe on them for the different cocoa percentages. Though I was loading up at the time on Trader Joe’s brand chocolate covered caramels and other sweets, one day I finally grabbed up one of those mini bars and it made me rethink for a moment about why it tasted different than the usual grocery store chocolates I was consuming. That was the first time I tried Valrhona.

My conversion to liking craft chocolate didn’t happen right away. It still took one or two more years to even fine out that craft chocolate even existed. I also didn’t learn right away that Valrhona is a popular chocolate that chocolatiers and confectioners use for the base of their creations, like Artisan Confections in Arlington, VA, and J. Chocolatier in Washington, D.C.

These two bars came from my fiancé’s martial arts teacher, who brought them back from visiting France. It was a pleasant surprise because since I learned Valrhona was used for bonbons and other confections, I don’t know, it kind of lost it’s luster in my mind. I remember walking past their table at the D.C. Chocolate Festival without giving them a second thought.

But before I dive into sampling these bars, if you want to purchase them for yourself, you can find them under the “Tasting Bars” section of Valrhona’s website. I guess I was so used to hearing about chocolatiers using a blend of Valrhona’s chocolate that I forgot they made single origin bars as well.

The Manjari 64% with candied orange peel bar is made with Madagascar cacao and its flavor is described as “fresh and tangy.” The bar had a strong citrusy and sweet, chocolatey scent. Citrus flavor exploded in my mouth with chocolatey sweetness as my bite melted. The flavor combo reminded me of Terry’s chocolate oranges, but with some more intensity on the citrus flavor and the light, sugar crystal texture of the candied oranges. I don’t get Terry’s oranges anymore and this bar would be the perfect replacement!

The Andoa 70% bar is made with Peruvian cacao and its flavor description is listed as “fresh and bittersweet.” The bar smelled fruity, almost like tropical fruit. “Fresh” isn’t the way I’d describe the flavor of this bar, but slightly astringent, bright citrus, fruity and chocolatey. Strong nutty flavors developed at the end of my bite.

I’m glad I had the chance to try Valrhona again! I think it helped that I got to try two flavors that I have not been able to find in store. I’m grateful for the generous and thoughtful gift from my fiancé’s martial arts teacher and his wife and now I look forward to trying more of Valrhona’s bars!

Valrhona: Made in France

These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.