I’m not a stranger to Amano products, but whenever I get the chance to try more of their bars, I take the opportunity! I ordered these a while back through Cacao Review and unfortunately from the looks of it the chocolate has suffered. There’s that white ashy look to it from bloom. Which kind of bloom? Thankfully Art Pollard, the chocolate maker behind Amano, has a very helpful article describing the differences between sugar bloom and fat bloom. Sugar bloom is when water comes in contact with the chocolate, dissolves the sugars on the surface and dries up creating a white patch or dusty appearance. Fat bloom is when the the chocolate experiences unstable temperatures and the cocoa butter crystals reform into bigger clumps and are pushed to the surface appearing as white patches.
I don’t think this is sugar bloom as the bars had just been opened and I doubt water had access to the chocolate. But as advised by the article, I wiped a damp finger on the surface of both bars to determine if sugar bloom had occurred. Sure enough, the white ashy appearance remained, so this was fat/cocoa butter bloom. From my experience, the transportation step in getting chocolate into my hands is usually the culprit in causing fat bloom since delivery vehicles don’t have temperature regulation and sometimes packages are left in the sun at my doorstep.
The back of the packaging mentions the Madagascar bar was the first to be released by Amano. The cocoa comes from a plantation in the Sambirano Valley on the northwest coast of Madagascar. The tasting notes are listed as chocolate-y, raspberries, cherries, raisin an citrus. Just reading this flavor combination makes me excited to try the chocolate! The bar smelled chocolate-y with hints of fruit and citrus. Because the bar had bloomed it took a while to melt making me chomp on the chocolate rather than let it gradually melt like usual. A punch of citrus with berry flavors developed with a chocolate-y undertone. I tasted the raisin notes at the end and in the aftertaste. The combination made me think of spring and summer when berries are ripe for picking and of sunny days. Since the weather has been cold and kind of dreary, this is what I needed as pick-me-up!
On the back of the packaging it says this “cocoa comes from a remote community in the Guayas River Basin just up river of Guayaquil, Ecuador”. Art made sure the families growing the cocoa got to taste the finished bar and he threw a launch party for them. The tasting notes are listed as chocolate-y, green bananas, smoke and blackberries. The scent of the bar was light smoky and green bananas. When I bit into this chocolate, smokiness burst forth followed by the slightly grassy green banana flavor. I didn’t taste any blackberry flavors. A couple of coworkers tried this bar with me and they definitely tasted green bananas.
I really enjoyed the Madagascar bar! The flavor combination was my type since I prefer fruity flavors in chocolate (nutty flavors are my second favorite). I’ve tried a few Amano bars now, but there are still a couple I have yet to get my hands on. When my current chocolate stash has gotten low enough, I’ll be placing an order.
Amano: Made in Orem, UT