What is a Grand Cru? It is a pure, exceptionally aromatic bean, a noble cacao sourced from a defined, renowned territory. These are classified by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). They are fine cacaos, with a bean which can be identified just like a vintage wine. Traditionally, Haute Chocolaterie differentiates Grands Crus from superior quality couverture chocolate or blends of beans.
The Grands Crus are an invitation to travel, from the northern confines of Venezuela to the lush green province of Esmeraldas in Ecuador, where cocoa planters make the most of this fertile Pacific coastline. Madagascar has also inherited this passion for Grands Crus, with farmers expertly tending their cocoa bushes to ensure they respect these varieties and their distinctive flavours.
Grand Cru bean varieties include Criollo, Arriba and Trinitario. Their aromas stay on the palate.
Identifying a Grand Cru Its aromatic profile has at least three layers: 1. the raw aroma, that of the fresh bean. 2. the fermentation aroma, that of the fermented and dried bean. 3. the thermal aroma, which comes from the roasted bean.
Our advice? When choosing your chocolate, look at the origin of the chocolate, its terroir (the plantation, farm, or hacienda) along with the cocoa content; two different 70% chocolates may taste very different depending on their provenance.