Club Meeting of April 17, 2011

Tonight's selections were all from a single Paris chocolatier, Jean Paul-Hevin on Rue Saint-Honoré on the Right Bank. Club member Nancy Shelby was in Paris and brought these bars back for our tasting.

The six varieties, all 75%, in the order of how they scored tonight are as follows:

      1. Java
      2. Columbia
      3. Trinidad
      4. Sao Tomé
      5. Cuba
      6. Madagascar

The Java was unanimously head and shoulders above the others. It scored three 9.5s, three 9's, and 8.5, etc.

The lowest score came from lone Mark who would only give up a 6.5.


Third place Trinidad did get three 9's, which isn't bad at all. Michael likened this variety to Barbara Stanwyk.

But he must not have been a great fan because he only gave it a 4.

The last ranked Madagascar was not without personality but had a very tart finish that put some off. We should say that Michael did give it a 6 and Carrie a 7.

Club Meeting of January 16, 2011

Thirteen people took part in tonight's tasting. The number is higher than usual and was certainly because of our special guest Harriet Smith. Though not a familiar name, her work is currently being enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people throughout America

Harriet was one of the editors of the Mark Twain autobiography that is enjoying so much success. Published by UC Press, the initial run was to be 7,000. Once interest was apparent that number was bumped up to 50,000. At present the book is at 500,000 copies sold and growing. Mr. Clemens has the last laugh. Beautiful. Harriet and Leonard were both interviewed on the radio show West Coast Live in December and became acquainted while signing books after the show. The six bars tasted tonight were three from Bittersweet Chocolate in neighboring Oakland and three from French chocolatier Pralus.


The six we tasted were:

  • The Pralus:
    • Sao Tomé, 75%
    • Djakarta, 75%
    • Ghana, 75%

  • The Bittersweet:
    • Ocumare, 78%
    • Dominican Republic, 75%
    • Winter's Edge, 75%



First and second place went to Pralus Ghana and Sao Tomé respectively.

Third went to Bittersweet Winter's Edge Fourth to Pralus' Djakarta

Fifth and Sixth to Bittersweet Ocumare and Dominican Republic respectively.

We all know Bittersweet and have enjoyed their creations in the past.

The mystery as always in tasting is what unknowns might be playing into the experience that could make a chocolate taste XYZ one day and ABC the next.

A professional taster might say there are no unknowns and that would put us in our place alright.

Bittersweet has always been a club favorite, and we all look forward to other bars from them in future.

Pralus is one tough competitor.

The Sao Tomé had two 9s and six 8s. Mark gave the lowest rating at 5. Bittersweet's Winter's Edge did well with two 9s, two 8,5s and an 8.75. Jesse's 3 was the lowest rating.

Pamela likened this chocolate to a quiet, snowy forest. Rob thought it had the grandeur and richness of Paul Robeson singing. No small compliment there.

The Ocumare got a number of comments mentioning astringency, tartness. It's highest rating was a 7 from Lenny who likened it to a Flamenco dancer who dances beautifully but has too many flowers in her hair distracting from the dance.



Member Clifton Baron informed the club that regretfully he could not attend this month's meeting.

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