I was in London last week and picked up two bars of Paul A Young's whole bean chocolate.
I brought it back to NY and tasted one of the two bars (the 64%) with a number of friends and colleagues who are professional and semi-professional/trained chocolate tasters and the most flattering comment was,
"It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be."
First off, the texture is all wrong. And it's not different like the Sicilian chocolates that are crunchy or chocolate that is under-refined and gritty, it's just wrong. Chewy kind of.
The 64% is surprisingly very sweet, and this may be because the sugar can't be refined smaller than the shell fragments which means the sweetness is more present than it would be if it were refined and conched (properly) into the chocolate. A low roast may also be a part of the reason.
There is a very unpleasant aftertaste on the bar that kind of gets stuck in the back of the throat and lingers there, menacingly demanding that it be washed away by something stronger than water.
One of the reviews mentioned something about the taste of parmesan cheese, which might come partly from lactic acid. That said, if I want my chocolate to taste like parmesan I want it to taste like parmesan because someone added parmesan to the chocolate. David Briggs at Xocolatl de David in Portland, OR does this and it's quite nice, actually.
The Brits can have it as far as I am concerned, but it's a huge step backwards for the craft chocolate world in general and I hope that someone in the UK wakes up and recognizes that this emperor is not wearing any new clothes and tells Paul that while it may be a decent marketing stunt that's all it is.
It's not bloody brilliant and it's not more wholesome. It's stupid and a real potential health hazard if it's actually being made as described in the articles and reviews.
I am very glad that it's actually illegal to sell this in the US as chocolate because of the high shell content. It's a chocolate-like substance.
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/