Pierre Marcolini, a Belgium chocolate maker is a perfectionist and his quest for even better chocolate creation elevates him to the cocoa Olymp of the World’s best “haute chocolateries“.
The best expression of the cocoa flavors searching makers use the old good white sugar, not fancy pure brown cane, or healthy stevia. For good results in diabetic chocolates maltitol for its closest taste profile to sugar. Vanilla is also used to balance and slightly improve the flavor of the artificial swetener. To the best raw cocoa beans, no vanilla should be added and the content of cocoa must be above 70%, so you can taste the nature.
Its maker also must love his product. In order to yileld the best expression of the loved object (cocoa bean in this case) he must listen to its nature, tend to its needs and desires. Marcolini sees his chocolates as “little gems” and strives for being “a genuine creator rather than processor“. The ancestrial Italian heritage might have spurred his loving affair with chocolate: “I love its colours, ingredients and textures, its glow, fragrance and mystery“. Indeed, he is in love. And, it is the two of us, since for years now, I cannot imagine a day without chocolate.
Bean to bar selected chocolate bars
His chocolate bar collection is divided into black squares of Grand Cru single origin and silver pouches for Limited Edition also mostly from Grand Cru plantations. Since I have a Pierre Marcolini boutique near to my home in Monaco, I wander over very often and can blind-taste any of them knowing where they came from.
Bean to bar productions means an absolute control of each step in the chocolate making process. Respecting nature in their direct effort with the growers commited to “no modern techniques such as GM or hybridisation“.
Each of the packed bars has a lot number at the back, so its exact provenance can be traced. Eighty grams for each bar let’s you savor the large nine squares with the singled MARCOLINI letters imprinted on every one of them.
To die for is the crunchy beans with melting soft texture, exotically fruity, green pear, honey sweet on mid palate and extremely long aftretaste of fruits, dry wood and absolute seduction. This Forastero specimen grows only on two hecatares, which was an experimental plantation produced exclusively for Marcolini. 75% in concentration is made by a small cooperative Cho Gao in Tien Giang, Vietnam. This delicious bite of heaven makes me wanting to visit Vietnam and buy their entire crop and melt my own bars at home.
My second favorite dark bar in the Limitied Edition series is the Mexican Finca La Joya from the Tabasco region. Its intrigue dwells in the lighter and rarer Criollo Porcelana cocoa bean 78% setting the bar for a serious connoisseur. Perplexing smoky tobacoo, dry but soft texture with a loud fruity acidity peaking as an energizing element in the depth of the already intense cocoa.
A Peruvian Alto Piura 85% Criollo Blanco cocoa from Plantacio Las Pampas reflects sincerely the elegance of Peruvian cocoa. One of my beloved regions grows a voluptuous cocoa beans, here with an added vanilla creating an always pleasing dark chocolate bar.
The Fleur de Cacao stands out in its skilled choice of three different cocoa varietals from three origins: Equador, Ghana and Cuba. High cocoa content of 85%. The depth of hazelnuts and coffee is freshened up with floral notes. Tahitian vanilla pod was scraped into the blend for an even more complex experience.
Los Rios Equador, proprietary Grand Cru from Hacienda Puerto Romero made from 78% Nacional variety of cocoa. Earthy almost dusty dry with occassional sparks of acidity, orange water and jasmine, centered around the mouthdrying leafy corpus. Tahitian vanilla pod was added to balance its fortissimo of earthly maleness.
Similar, yet Trinitario 78% based, is Cuban Oriente from Terruno de Baracoa. Force of dry cocoa, dried berry acidity, casis and prunes yield to a long aftertaste with tart dryness.
For diabetics a sugar-free, by maltitol sweetened Venezuelan and Ghana blend of 78% cocoa and a touch of vanilla, was created to sattisfy without the artificial sweetener’s disruptive tendency. Exotic fruity freshness of Venezuelan beans meets dry coffee in a pleasant taste. Nice, for a sugar-free chocolate.
From Africa comes a single plantation from Domaine Dark Mungo, Haut Penja in Cameroun. Pure, strong, resistant and runs for a long distance as the country’s legendary runners. Woody austerity of Forastero is sweetened by yellow stone fruits in a 70% cocoa content.
White, milk and classic blends are created to sattisfy the less demanding palates.
Grand Cru cocoa ganaches
The Grand Cru cocoa is used also in his pure ganaches: Brazil, Caribbean, Equador, Madagascar and Venezuela in single origin morsels, and blends of South American plantations in Cabosse as well as PIerre Marcolini Grand Cru signature blend of Ghana, Peru and Venezuela flavoroured with Tahitian vanilla.
An inventive mind constantly searches for the different. Marcollini ceaselessly scans the Globe for new ingredients that would marry his cocoa either in a perfect unison or in a passionate relationship full of emotions. One domineering in a certain moment like the Tahitian vanilla, while the other (cocoa) is rather subdued, but then they embrace each other and mellow into a delectable experience. This research lead to creative ganaches, truffles, mendiants and pralines that are highly refined and worth discovering.