So, I did it. I visited the new Amano Artisan Chocolate storefront located in Orem, Utah! It was awesome! And in fact, I'm pretty sure I will be going back quite regularly, as the budget allows.
First of all, before I tell you about the delicious chocolate I tried, let me tell you a little bit about Amano. The founder/head chocolate maker, Art Pollard, didn't start as a chocolate connoisseur. He was working at BYU in the physics department when he came up with the idea to make his own chocolate. And then he just went from there. Researching techniques, finding the best beans, and even designing his own chocolate-making machine. To me, this is inspiring, because it makes me realize that if you truly have a passion for something, you can make it happen!
Anyway, now to the chocolate. I sampled 4 different kinds while there, so I still haven't tried to whole spread, but I'll be back. Here they are with a little description:
Madagascar (70%): This is the one that I ended up bringing home, not necessarily because it was my fav, but because my niece that was accompanying me was so enthralled with the name (most likely, because a particular "film" that she is familiar with). She informed me that is the one that we MUST buy! It has a very complex flavor - a very fruity undertone. When I was eating some a little later, it almost tasted like raspberry to me. The cool thing with Amano Chocolate is that they do not add any flavorings to their chocolate other than vanilla which enhances the natural flavor.
Guayas (70%): The beans for this bar originate from Ecuador. Also delicious! This was a little more subtle, smooth flavor... A deep dark chocolate. I don't know how else to describe. Loved it! I want more.
Jembrana (70%): These beans come from Bali. It looks like Amano will be discontinuing the bar soon because they said the new crop of beans was not up to their standard. Too bad, because this one's good. But, since Amano's all about quality, they want to keep it that way. And I have a great admiration for that. Anyway, this one's a bit sweeter - and like the description on Amano's website, there are hints of honey and spice in it.
Ocumare Milk (30%): This chocolate also had a little bit of a fruity undertone, which was cool for me. I've never really had a milk chocolate bar that had any hints of extra flavor. Liked it.
So, which one did I like best? That's a great question. I honestly can't compare. They are all so very good but for different reasons. And I haven't even had a chance to try all the flavors yet. There's still Dos Rios, Ocumare Dark, Montanya and Cuyagua (both currently sold out), and the new origins chocolate! We'll just have to see over time.....
As my niece who accompanied me to the store said, "They just keep getting better and better."
Go check it out: www.amanochocolate.com , or go to their storefront at 450 S 1325 W Orem, UT 84058 (Open 10-8 M-F, 10-6 Sat).
PS - The new Amano Origins Bar is from Chuao, Venezuela and I'll let you know how it is once I get a try!