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I'm currently tasting and reviewing a Valrhona Chuao 2002 bar, but I've got several questions.

1) Why is it named "2002"? Is this for the year the beans were harvested? Is this really true or is it a marketing ploy?

2) The package says "Made by 01-2004" which seems to indicate that the bar was made by January 2004. Was it? If so, how is it still good almost 6 years later? and if this bar can age so well, why do most bars have a "Good before" date on them?

3) I know that Valrhona made the first Chuao bar, but then Amedei acquired the exclusive rights to the beans. I'm just wondering where Valrhona got their beans for this bar (and even when). I suppose from the same source that Bonnat uses for their Chuao. Hans-Peter Rot delves into this mystery in a blog article at Cocoa Content. (I think the article is at The Nibble too.) Casey also touches on it with an article on Chuao in her blog The Chocolate Note. Does anyone have any more information on how Valrhona got these magic Chuao beans?

And here's my personal rating of my enjoyment of these 3 Chuao bars:
Amedei 10. This is still my #1 favorite of over 360 bars that I've reviewed. Sublime.
Bonnat 7. It didn't even taste like the same beans.
Valrhona 6. At 65% the flavor profile is seriously dampened. This is still my favorite Valrhona bar, but I'm not a very big Valrhona fan.

Tags: Chuao

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In the UK I've been told (by the Trading Standards people) that I have to have a "Best before" date on the chocolate I'm making. I asked how it was best determined and they suggested I copy what other chocolate makers do! They agreed that this isn't particularly rational but doubted that an exception could be made.
Duffy
Olorin,

I can answer at least part of your question. The Valrhona 2002 is indeed from that year's harvest. It was one of the last years it was available to them. Before Amedei gained control of all of it, which they no longer have. I stock piled many many cases of this bar in my store and sold it at a premium until it ran out earlier this year.

I stored it very carefully so there was no issue with bloom and it was fantastic. WHERE DID YOU GET IT!?! I would kill for some more. Not because it is my favorite necessarily, but for novelty's sake I need it for my own collection. I forgot to pull some off my shelves for myself before it ran out. I know Chocosphere had some, but I have begged Jerry for more and he assured me it was gone.
Thanks,
Matt
Although we have already chatted via email about this privately (Olorin,) thought I would share this for those following along on here. Just published something about vintage chocolates.

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