Bonnat was founded in 1856 (and making bean-to-bar chocolate since 1884!) by Félix Bonnat and is currently run by sixth-generation chocolate-maker Stephane Bonnat, who refers to himself as a confiseur rather than a chocolatier.
A chocolatier is [someone] really transforming the beans into chocolate. A confiseur is someone who uses the chocolate, along with ingredients such as praline, nougat, ganache and almond paste to make bonbons. On many old advertisements you would see “Chocolatier-Confiseur” written, which meant that the two activities were done within the same company. Today, everyone calls themselves chocolatiers, even though they don’t make their own chocolate.
Today, we’ll be looking at Bonnat’s Porcelana and Java bars.
Bonnat Porcelana 75% (Venezuela)
Porcelana cacao is a type of criollo, one of the rarest. This bar uses Porcelana beans from Venezuela.
Chocolat Bonnat Porcelana 75% (Venezuela)
Packaging: 4 out of 5 - has an “olde tyme” feel to it, something you would buy in a chocolate shop in 1920’s Paris. Molding: 4.75 out of 5 - excellent sheen, some minor air bubbles. We love how thick the mold is - you definitely feel like you're biting into something substantial Snap: 5 out 5 - perfectly crisp and clean Nose: 4 out of 5 - floral, roses, very deep chocolate with some sharp rose petal notes Mouthfeel: 5 out of 5 - perfectly silky. Love the way it coats the palate - excellent Taste: 4.75 out of 5 - deep mocha, earthy, tobacco, leather. But then, vanilla, roasted coffee. Very mild, not acidic at all Finish: 4 out of 5 - slight dry finish, perfectly clean, get the gourmet oreo, toffee, slight synthetic taste at the very end Overall: 4.75 out of 5, excellent balance, wonderful finish, very flavorful. It’s very expensive for what it is (~$16-$18 for 3.5oz/100g) - we expect miracle-level magic with this price of a bar. It’s really good, but it would not be the sort of thing that we would be able to buy every day. Definitely a special-occasion bar.
Bonnat Java 65% Milk Chocolate (Blend)
It’d be nice to know the source of the blend, but we’ll have to suffice with the general experience. According to chocosphere.com, it’s a blend from Indonesia and Southeast Asia/Oceania (?)
Chocolat Bonnat Java 65% Milk Chocolate (Blend)
Packaging: 4 out of 5 Molding: 4.75 out of 5 - excellent scheen, some minor air bubbles, very light in color Snap: 5 out 5 - incredible for a milk chocolate bar, very loud snap Nose: 4.5 out of 5 - deep caramel and salt, slight cardboard scent as well Mouthfeel: 5 out 5 - perfectly silky Taste: 4.75 out of 5 - milk, caramel, cardboard, vanilla, salt, nuts - toffee Finish: 4.5 out of 5 - slightly dry, but very nice and clean and long, that "gourmet oreo cookie" finish, with that same synthetic aftertaste on the sides of the tongue. Overall: 4.75 out of 5 - incredible milk chocolate bar that's held back from perfection due to that slight synthetic aftertaste
For more information, here’s a great interview by Dessert Professional with Stephane.