Review: AMMA Theobroma Grandiflorum Cupuaçu 80% (***1/2)

Chocolatiers, they are strange people. They like to confuse poor beginning chocolate enthusiasts like me. Hilde Devolder talked my wife and me into buying a bar of Amma Cupuaçu, just because she was wondering what we would think about it.

It’s like chocolate, she said, but it isn’t. Pretty intriguing and strange. So naturally we had to try it.

Now what do we have here? A bar made of Theobroma Grandiflorum. Not Theobroma Cacao. The Grandiflorum is a species of the Theobroma family. Making it a relative of the cacao plant. Yet it isn’t. Confusing, right?

So in fact, we have a bar of Cupuaçu here. The name reminds me more of a cocktail drink than chocolate, but hey, we love to be adventurous and give it a go anyway!

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So what do we actually get. A bar. In a nice cardboard sleeve. Stating it hides a bar of 80% Cupuaçu. Produced in Brazil. By AMMA, a company producing several single origin chocolate bars. Opening the sleeve, we discover a green foil wrapper and some extra info on the genus of the plant Theobroma Grandiflorum. A little more is revealed on the fruit, its difference to cacao and the fact that it is fermented for a long time to get it at its peak of aroma.

Opening the foil, we discover a nice looking bar of choco… no, Cupuaçu. It is going to take a while to get used to that one. The bar looks as sleek as a tablet of Pralus chocolate. Neat rectangular pieces and one big slab with the signature of mister Diego Badaro, owner of the land where the AMMA trees grow. While it looks good, it isn’t as glossy as a dark chocolate bar. It looks a lot more like milk chocolate. Though no dairy has come close to this bar.

Bean: Theobroma Grandiflorum
Origin: Brazil

Production: AMMA chocolate, Bahia, Brazil

Price paid: € 7,00/80 g (Hilde Devolder Chocolatier)

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Colour: The bar has a very light brown, milk chocolate colour. Very different from high percentage cacao bars.

Aroma: Here the wonderment starts. It is swaying away from the smells a chocoholic is accustomed too. It is sweet with a slight acidic touch. Nutty. And clearly reminding me of liquor filled chocolates.

Taste: The most obvious difference to chocolate is immediately obvious. The bar is a lot softer than chocolate. There is practically no snap, as the cupuaçu beans contain a lot more fat than its close relative. This results in a whole other mouthfeel. It opens quickly and sweet. Next you discover its buttery nature as it melts. Yet it is a pleasant richness, not clingy or dull on the palate. It brings great espresso tastes up front, combined with lots of nuts. Almost like a ganache or praliné. But a lively acidity in the back keeps if from being to thick on the palate. A fruityness of yellow exotic fruits like mango come to mind. It is like a filled bar, but combined with the delicate tones one expects in a quality chocolate. And somehow, it is all different at the same time. The aftertaste rolls in with the same powerful, yet balanced flavours, while the acidity gives way for more espresso tones. This Theobroma Grandiflorum has a remarkable long finish. While it is high in percentage, it is very approachable and smooth.

I am a bit puzzled by this bar. I like it. A lot. But at the same time, it differs from dark chocolate in a lot of ways. One must change his view on chocolate to place it, but in the end, isn’t it the taste that matters most? And in that segment it really provides a new experience! I even think this bar might sway people who fear high percentage cacao bars into giving it a try, as this product is so open and inviting. Wonderful.

So why only three and a half stars? Because to me, the coarser texture and more buttery mouthfeel make it a bit less desirable than an equal chocolate bar. Yet the taste is top notch! It all boils down to personal preferences I guess.

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3 comments on “Review: AMMA Theobroma Grandiflorum Cupuaçu 80% (***1/2)

  1. […] So my ears pricked up when I heard about a new Brazilian “chocolate” that didn’t contain any cocoa at all. Far from being a cheap, artificial candy, this is a gourmet product, made using the beans of the tangy cupuaçu fruit, from the same plant family – Theobroma – to which cacao belongs. The company making it is Amma – a premium, organic bean-to-bar brand in Brazil whose regular chocolates have scooped up a number of International Chocolate awards in the past couple of years. The cupuaçu fruit (Latin name Theobroma grandiflorum, and pronounced coo-poo-asoo) is processed in the same way as cacao (Theobroma cacao), using 80% cupuaçu solids, for Amma’s new bar. Reviewers online seem intrigued and delighted in equal measure, and it’s particularly noted for its creaminess. […]

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  2. Sounds fascinating! Would love to try. If that Hilde woman was so interested in your opinion, I think she should’ve given you the bar for free though.

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  3. […] To make it short: I had a very enjoyable day and learned and tasted a lot about great chocolates! I was delighted to see and meet a lot of the chocolate makers whose chocolates I appreciate a lot. I went to tastings with Samuel Maruta from Marou and another one with Domantas Užpalis from Naive. In parallel there were tastings by Mikkel Friis-Holm from Friis-Holm and Brett Beach from Madécasse. All of them produce some of the most amazing chocolates on the market. The event further offered many interesting talks by chocolate makers, but also nature conservationists (Marc Argeloo who is related to Original Beans), or chocolate anthropologists/historians (e.g. Maricel Presilla). I really enjoyed listening to Diego Badaró (AMMA) and Bertil Åkesson (Åkesson’s) and taste some of their fantastic chocolates. People were quite excited about their first bar made from theobroma cupuacu which is a cousin of cacao (theobroma cacao). It has many very tropical, licor-like fruit notes and tastes great! But texture and flavor-wise it is very different from the typical chocolate, so it’s hard to compare (as others found as well). […]

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