IN 1884, FELIX BONNAT
set up a chocolate and confectionary shop in the French town of Voiron, which today is still run by the Bonnat family. BONNAT
products already travelled around the world in the colonial days, and continue to do so through today's network of BONNAT
authorized dealers. Apart from a sizeable range of paves
(praline chunks), filled chocolates and blended bars, BONNAT
also produces several single-origin bars, which are described in detail below.
In recent years, BONNAT also brought several Porcelana bars onto the market (see below for a review of two of them).
Stores: BONNAT has one store in Voiron, France, and a worldwide network of authorized dealers, some of which we list below. A complete list can be found on the BONNAT website (see above).
Paris: Lafayette Gourmet, 93, rue de Provence (9th arr.), Tel. +33148741535
There are a further 25 dealers in France.
Berlin: Berliner Kaffeeroesterei, Uhlandstrasse 173/174, Tel. +493088677920, There are a further German dealers in Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Koeln and Waltrop.
London: Mortimer & Bennett, 33 Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1RG, Tel. +442089954145
Vienna: Xocolat, Freyung 2, Tel. +4315354363
There are further dealers in Italy (San Stefano Magra), Switzerland (Montreux and Sion), Belgium (Namur) and Sweden (Hallsberg).
The importer for the United States is Crossings French Food, 4 New Street, Worcester, MA, Tel. +18002096141
In the Boston area BONNAT chocolate can be found at Cardullo's on Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.
Availability: In addition to the above dealers, BONNAT can also be purchased online from its own website, as well as from www.chocosphere.com (US) and www.chocolatetradingco.com (UK).
THE CHOCOLATE BARS
click on countries of origin for more information
MADAGASCAR 75% Madagascar
Like some other excellent bars from Madagascar, this one too reveals distinct citrus fruit notes and a slighly oily texture. In addition this particular bar also carries a hint of smoke and delivers a rich and well-balanced performance with a good finish and pleasant aftertaste.
PUERTO CABELLO 75% Venezuela, South America
A rather sweet and rich experience, Puerto Cabello does not exhibit any too unusual flavours, but pleases with a good finish and a hint of spice. Its texture is soft and slightly fatty.
SURABAYA 65% Indonesia, South East Asia
Note: This bar is no longer available.
This is one of the darkest milk chocolate bars on the market, and is quite unlike anything you would normally think of in this category. Like the similarly outstanding (lighter) Pralus Melissa, this chocolate exhibits strong notes of caramel and burnt sugar, as well as distinct Criollo flavours. The texture is slightly oily. The warm finish carries hints of nut and raisin. Overall this bar is not complex, but very distinctive, pure and satisfying.
CEYLAN 75% Sri Lanka, South Asia
One of the less remarkable BONNAT bars, this chocolate developes bitter, earthy notes with tannin and some acidity. The slightly sweet aftertaste has a hint of nut.
PORCELANA 75% Venezuela, South America
This is one of three fairly new additions to the BONNAT range. Made from the rarest and most exclusive pure Criollo - called Porcelana because of the white cocoa beans which are particular to this variety - this is also the most expensive bar we have come across, here at THE CHOCOLATE REVOLUTION. We got ours quite cheaply, at $14.99, but have also seen it retail for over $20. (AMEDEI's Porcelana comes close, if you look at the cost per gramme, but that chocolate comes in smaller units). It is a complex bar, which starts off with fresh, green aromas which develop into citrus, coffee and wood. Earthy notes with tannins follow, and linger on into the finish and aftertaste, where they are joined by some hazelnut. It is a pleasing, well-executed and complex bar, but it is not extraordinary, and yet another example of the fact that Porcelana chocolate bars are usually excellent, but do not expand your tasting horizon.
APOTEQUIL 75% Venezuela, South America
Another of the three Porcelana bars by BONNAT, this one is an example of a perfectly executed chocolate bar. Extremely smooth, without a hint of bitterness, with buttery notes of caramel, wood and sweet vanilla and a rich hazelnut finish with a dry aftertaste.
Other BONNAT bars are the Marfil de Bianco (Porcelana), Jamaique, Real Del Xoxonuzco, Vale do Juliana, Libānio, Madagascar 100% Criollo, Havienda el Rosario, Chuao Village, Chuao, Equateur, Trinite, and Ivory Coast.