Monday, 28 April 2014

Willie's Cacao Milk Of The Gods

Rio Caribe 44% - Trinitario cocoa beans

This single estate 25% cacao mass, from Hacienda San Agustin (near Rio Caribe) in Venezuela, is mixed with 19% cocoa butter from Barlovento, raw cane sugar from Guadeloupe and 21% British milk

It smelt quite dark and intense with a depth of earth and fruitiness, reminiscent of dark chocolate, yet it was very creamy and with custard. My second bar (17/03/15) had distinct tobacco smoke and malt

I loved the hard, rigid snap and bite and it being a single slab made it more personal. The flavour was seriously roasted, with a cocoa depth and slight bitterness. There was little acidity, light chilli spices were vocalising, and the raw cane sugar did not overpower the cacao; thus creating a rich chocolate flavour. The milk created a very creamy, cheese-like taste and I also thought of coconut macaroons/biscuits, nuts and wheat

The texture was slightly coarse in melt with a cooling feel. The toasted lingering taste made for a long, soft, warm finish

For a milk chocolate, this Milk Of The Gods is very expressive. Upon the chocolate, the calligraphic typeface of 'Fruitful' is consistent with Willie's Cacao's distinct branding. And now with more and more of us making more conscious decisions when it comes to our chocolate (percentage and now origin), I'm certain in the very near future Willie's will become a household name. Not that being so would lose credibility for the prestigious Willie's Cacao... think of it more as an enlightenment of the British public

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Rococo Chocolate

The artsy yet simplistic design of Rococo's packaging is admirable. Each of these three bars are labelled organic and artisan, and are made from fine cocoa beans (including some sourced from Rococo's farm, Grococo, in North Grenada) with a little extra added cocoa butter

The whole experience of Rococo was mesmerising. From the beautiful and authentic print designs on the paper packaging, which on the inside had faint illustrations, to the chocolate bars themselves. And spoiler alert: words can not describe the mouthfeel of the dark chocolate and the aroma of the white!

The design upon the chocolate looked very similar to the Duke of Delhi chocolate bar range which I liked as it gave the chocolate character, BUUUUT I think Rococo wore it best!

Basil & Persian Lime Dark Chocolate
65% cocoa solids
A medium brown colour with reddish tint. Its thin form, soft touch, delicate hold and glossy finish gave a satisfying clean snap. The lime and basil were competing in aroma, with lime seeming to be the foundation of the chocolate with the herby aroma being the stronger overtone, however it took a few moments to actually get the sense of it actually being basil. A soft bite lead to an incredibly smooth, soft texture

In taste the basil mastered the lime. But the lime pieces gave a zesty burst when bitten and also had a soft gritty-like feel

This chocolate remained calm at all times. The most impressive texture and melt I've experienced (yet), and I wonder if that was down to a long conching time or a high percentage of cocoa butter, but either way it was exceptional. The long-length finish was a soft basil

Sea Salt Milk Chocolate
Rococo have used their house blend 37% milk chocolate and infused it with Halen Mon Anglesey sea salt. After one bite, you realise why this chocolate was awarded an Academy of Chocolate Gold Award. It also is known to be a favourite of Sophie Dahls!

The light brown colour, with its glossy finish and creamy, vanilla aroma gave the impression of a rich and warm experience. And it was. The salt enhanced the sweetness of the caramel tasting milk chocolate. It always amazes me how salt does that. The only bad thing I have to say about this chocolate was that I could taste the paper packaging at times, but apart from that all was good. It seems as if Rococo are persistent with their smooth textures... could the white chocolate complete the trinity?

Cardamom White Chocolate
Well, it certainly looked good. The aromatic cardamom made itself present as soon as the paper was opened, and I loved how I could subtly smell the vanilla white chocolate coming through. I've had cardamom and dark/milk chocolate before, but after trying this I think white chocolate works so much better

Sugar is sensed in the aftertaste but thankfully the cardamom distracts away from that. The two distinct contrasting flavours (the strong fragrant cardamom and creamy vanilla chocolate) really complement each other, and for a white chocolate this bar was ever so sophisticated

Each chocolate bar was excellent. The flavour pairings were perfect. And out of the three, for taste I'd recommend the Cardamom White Chocolate, it was perfectly balanced and for the texture it would have to be the Basil & Persian Lime Dark Chocolate. £4.50 for 70g is far more expensive than your average chocolate bar, but with Rococo you are paying for quality

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Beyers Chocolate Slabs

I had never heard of nor seen Beyers chocolate before, so when I had the opportunity I bought a couple of their chocolate slabs. Beyers is made in South Africa, founded by a Belgian confectioner, and is supplied to the South African market, but their cocoa origin seems to be unknown but I'm 99.99% sure it is Africa (bulk Belgian chocolate)

White Choc Slab
A very creamy aroma, with a powerful fragrant vanilla. The texture was grainy, and when chewing the chocolate it felt dry and empty. And its taste... well, what taste? This chocolate had little flavour and was just boring

However, I did like the look of the vanilla bean specks and the aroma (to an extent; it wasn't mind blowing, but comparing to the taste it was good)

After looking on their website I see that they don't sell this chocolate anymore, and no wonder why. Its poor taste was just a disappointment 

Cookies and Cream Slab
Milk chocolate of 35% cocoa solids. This seems to be the only thing I know of Beyer's use of cocoa; the percentage of their milk chocolate

The smell resembled poor quality chocolate. It had a firm bite but with that grainy texture making itself present again. The cookies felt soft but they didn't taste bad, definitely needed a crispier bite though 

An overall disappointing taste. The slab looked fun with it's smudge of white chocolate and cookie pieces hiding throughout, but fun the chocolate was not

Caramelicious Slab
After reading a good review of this chocolate I decided to leave it to last; but I think I would have done so anyway as it looked and sounded the best of the three

But after not having a good experience of the previous chocolates, I had little optimism about this one. When looking at the packaging, it did sound and look great; "toffee and crunchy caramel crisp". But in practice the actual chocolate looked sorry for itself, with its toffee sticking to the foil wrapping. The aroma was similar of the Cookies and Cream, creamy and nutty, but the toffee gave it a cheesier sweeter scent

At first the chocolate tasted dull, but after a little while I grew to enjoy it because of the toffee; it was thick and chewy and tasted quite rich and sweet. The caramel crisps added to the texture and with their burnt taste it really helped improve the poor tasting milk chocolate

Overall, a disappointing selection of chocolates. The Caramelicious slab was the best tasting one out of the three, but I still wouldn't recommend. The chocolates all tasted Belgian to me, but sadly very poor quality. I did like the cardboard packaging, foil wrapping and the 2x2 square pieces design though

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Moser Roth Finest Dark Chocolate 70%

Dark brown in colour, delicate to hold and with a shiny, smooth surface; this is Aldi's Moser Roth 70% dark chocolate

The aroma was strong cocoa, with a creaminess which made me to double check if it had slyly included milk solids within (it hadn't). A dark vanilla was noted along with a light nutty and woody scent

The 70% had a clear snap and a heavy cocoa taste. It felt as if the sugar was appearing in short intervals, overall leading to a very sweet taste, however the dominating cocoa flavour was the finish; along with subtle earthy tone

Straight away I noticed that chalky texture similar of the Moser Roth 85%However, the texture was very smooth and had a long melt

Unlike the 85%, this did not have added 'fat reduced cocoa powder' which could be an explanation for the more depth in aroma and better taste it had compared

Paying £1.09 for 125g of a supermarket's premium chocolate, it really isn't bad

The chocolate develops in flavour, but it's not as dynamic as dark chocolate can and should be. There was light acidity giving it a mellowed taste which exhibited the blunter cocoa flavour. Saying this, the chocolate didn't really taste bitter with it's sugar/vanilla sweetness being rather pleasant and sweet. I do feel inclined to use this chocolate for baking because the taste is good but not good enough for me to want to eat regularly

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Taste the Difference Belgian Milk Chocolate

"creamy with a hint of caramel" is spot on. I noted straight away a very creamy and soft caramel taste. The aroma, much like the flavour, was soft and sweet too. A lovely smooth melt and texture, however so rich that it was hard not to just chew 

I found myself to be feeling slightly underwhelmed by the Taste the Difference Belgian White chocolate, but this milk chocolate really makes up for it. I loved it 

30% cocoa solids, and with a high percentage milk solids, 30%, it's no wonder why it was so rich in creaminess

I really enjoyed this milk chocolate, and one I'd recommend; taste and price wise; £1.40 for 100g. Great to see the Fairtrade logo too

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Art en Chocolat Berlin

My brother, on his travels again, sent me 3 Art en Chocolat chocolate bars from visiting the shop in Germany

These bars were hand decorated, meaning that each looks unique... and truly do look a work of art. The minimal packaging ensures you to focus on the chocolate and they do look beautiful; perfect to give as a gift. However, because of this minimum packaging, none of the bars actually stated what they had on them, only the percentages of cocoa in the white/milk/dark/'superior' chocolate. So, I found myself guessing the flavours

Noir - ginger and pink berry - 54% cocoa
Scored into 24 pieces. A sweet, rich cocoa aroma; slightly earthy. In the taste the ginger lightly infused throughout each bite but potent when biting the actual ginger pieces. As the chocolate hinted towards a subtle rose flavour, I thought this to be from the little pink rocks, but after looking on their website I found that they were actually pink berries. The crystallised texture of the pink berries was interesting, having a crunch like a large-grain sugar, however they didn't give a definitive taste of anything. The long, smooth melt was excellent and that's how I knew that this chocolate was of a high quality. And as it didn't taste really dark, but actually quite sweet, I believed it to be the 54% opposed to the 72% Ecuadorian cocoa

Noir - 54% cocoa
Again, smelling rich and of cocoa but with certain spicier notes and a little sweeter too. It was very aromatic. In the taste a heat was first noted, a peppery taste to be precise, knowing straight away that it had to be red peppercorns. And again the chocolate had a long, smooth, delicate melt; it was just superb. The second element of this chocolate seemed hard to decipher, I thought it looked like apricot but tasted of dried apples... it was in fact dried papaya. The spicy pepper taste and mellow-sweet fruit worked well together

Blanc -  28% cocoa
A creamy, sweet vanilla aroma, undertone slightly cheesy. I knew it was pistachios, the shade of green upon the crushed nuts gave it away, they also gave off a woody-cardboard scent which balanced out that sweet white chocolate aroma. A beautiful melt and mouthfeel. Very soft and creamy. Not completely sure what the red decorative was, but I didn't feel as if it impacted on the taste; but they did have a chewy texture

Overall, excellent chocolate. Their delicate bodies with their delectable melts were each enhanced by the flavoured toppings. The tastes, textures and aromas were soft and perfectly balanced. It appeared that each had one dominating flavour and the other topping was to complement, but mainly to look artistic

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Divine Milk Chocolate

Divine take pride in their ethical ways, with their cocoa grown in Ghana, specifically by the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative who own 45% of the Fairtrade company. Across Divine's range, they never fail with their choice of colours upon their beautiful patterned designs. This brown and gold really made me feel as if this chocolate was going to be rich and creamy; I HAD to buy it... excellent marketing

The milk chocolate smelt reasonably creamy and a little earthy, hinting of burnt vanilla. I liked it, but not at first as my initial thought was that it lacked, an expected, depth of rich cocoa; but saying this it was just of 27% cocoa solids. [bean strain Amelonado]

It seems such a shame that the taste disappointed me. I assumed that the use of good quality ingredients from Divine, would lead me to a superb taste... but sadly not. There really was nothing special about it, and it's upsetting to say but I likened it to cheap chocolate. I was expecting complexity in flavour with Divine. The cocoa being African sounds likely to be responsible for the lack of flavour 

It had a good long, smooth melt though. Oh and the aesthetics from the packaging to the chocolate itself were admired. This was my first time trying Divine, and possibly my last. Wait, that seems too hasty, maybe I just need to try Divine chocolate again

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Chocolate Tasting Club Classic Selection

Finally, after weeks of waiting, I received my Chocolate Tasting Club selection box. I was torn between choosing the Classic or the Rabot selection (a showcase of nuanced flavours of rare cocoa), but I ambivalently chose the classic

I'll give my tasting notes on each chocolate...

Friday, 11 April 2014

Elizabeth Shaw Milk Chocolate Butterscotch Crisp

A rich, deep aroma of which resembled treacle; having notes of liquorice. It smelt very natural and quite intense, despite the fact that it was only milk chocolate

The taste wasn't as powerful as the aroma due to the milk mellowing it, but it still was impressive; the butterscotch being sweet yet subtlety bitter. The sugars tasted rich and dark, with a burnt touch to it as well as having a light taste of honey

The honeycomb crisps had a gritty texture that stuck to the teeth, this is something I don't enjoy when it comes to chocolate; I prefer a clean bite/chew/experience. But its rich taste made me soon disregard its disruptive texture. The texture and melt of the chocolate itself was smooth 

I personally think the chocolate needs redesigning- a flat surface would look more sophisticated. However the taste must not be touched. This chocolate exceeded my expectations and how it tasted so rich, dark and natural was absolutely wonderful; the taste and aroma especially was sensational

Elizabeth Shaw source their cocoa from Côte d'Ivoire (Barry Callebaut QPP). 31% cocoa solids 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Lindt Lindor White Chocolate

A soothing smell of a just-burnt match stick. The caramel-like, dark aroma really caught me off guard as I thought that this, being Lindor, would be overworked with a sugary and buttery smell and taste, but surprisingly it wasn't

Each piece was the Lindor truffle in a flatter rectangular form and easier to eat. I had never tried the white Lindor truffle before so that's why I thought to try this chocolate bar

The texture felt like I was eating butter... not a pretty image to have in your head whilst devouring! But as I think of it now, this was the same with all Lindor flavours I've had in the past. What I notice with Lindor is that cooling feel it has in the mouth as the truffle centre begins to melt

This chocolate had a more buttery opposed to sugar taste which was nice in the sense that it didn't taste overwhelmingly sweet. Its dark taste was then followed with a soft finish, and neither was this chocolate cloying. It's just disappointing to see that vegetable fats comes before cocoa butter in the ingredients list. I was expecting to completely despise this chocolate, but to my surprise it actually wasn't bad for Lindor. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

E.Wedel Gorzka

My mother, being Polish, bought me this dark chocolate from a Polish delicatessen in town. E. Wedel, formerly known as Cadbury-Wedel, was sold, by Kraft, to South Korean Lotte in 2010. Albeit not quite Polish anymore, it still is today Poland's most popular chocolate

With 64% cocoa solids, it was darker than I was expecting. It was dark in colour, few shades off black, and had a strong cocoa aroma,  however the sugar powered its way through

The clear snap, and crisp bite was followed by a standard dark chocolate taste. An excess of cocoa powder was noted in taste and texture as the dusty melt was hard to ignore

You can't help but wince at the ugly design of this chocolate. It didn't taste bad and it was very easy to eat, but I just wouldn't recommend it, only to the fact that it was a dark chocolate and had no dimension to it (these two go hand-in-hand!)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Booja Booja Banoffee Toffee Chocolate Truffles

After being somewhat underwhelmed by Booja Booja's Hazelnut Crunch Truffles, I thought I'd tackle some of their other truffles... after all the good reviews I've read of Booja Booja; I just wanted to be wowed

The idea of banana and toffee, banoffee, sounded interesting- banana being one of my favourite foods I went straight for this flavour and also because I knew that as it was from Booja Booja it wouldn't taste artificial; unlike every other banana chocolate/confectionary

The truffles smelt kinda boozy and even tasted so too. If I had blind tasted these I would never have guessed banana... nor toffee for that matter, maybe a rum and raisin concoction instead?

A light, soft texture with a dark, rich taste. The texture contrasts were excellent; the scattered caramelised banana jewels feeling quite juicy and moist. These truffles didn't taste cheap, rather high quality; this making them possibly the best truffles I've ever had yet

The chocolate used contained only 3 ingredients; superb - and 55% cocoa solids. The ganache was made with chocolate and organic coconut oil, then inside the ganache was caramelised banana (banana and cane sugar) and banana toffee (banana and cane sugar), and then to finish; these truffles were lightly dusted with cocoa powder

These are an indulgence that shouldn't make you feel guilty

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Lindt Creation: Velvety Vanilla Almond, Heavenly Crème Brûlée and Tiramisu

Having never actually seen nor heard of Lindt Creation before, I bought these thinking they were rare and that I wouldn't get the opportunity again. I also thought that maybe they were only sold on the continent... *update* - they are actually available in most supermarkets

Aesthetically satisfying: from the Lindt signature, sophisticated cardboard packaging to the curved, smooth tops of the milk chocolate

Velvety Vanilla Almond
A sharp, sweet, toffee aroma; becoming sickly fairly quickly

Each piece consisted of a caramel layer on top of a vanilla flavoured truffle with crunchy almond pieces dispersed within

It tasted very sweet, my initial reaction likened it to ice cream! At first I thought the caramel was pushing this chocolate to beyond desired sweetness, but it was actually the vanilla truffle. The caramel was rich whereas the vanilla flavouring was sharply sweet

I didn't find the almond to be lost in taste, and actually it slightly rounded off that sweetness; however, all still tasted fairly artificial. I grew to enjoy the overall taste, and the milk chocolate (and the caramel) tasted beautifully rich. I liked the texture of this chocolate with the hard coating, soft truffle and viscous caramel

Heavenly Crème Brûlée
Again, a very sweet aroma but this time much more tolerable. I liked it. Having loud notes of cream and malted milk with a touch of vanilla

The caramelised sugar pieces added a crunch, however I wasn't so crazy about this. But the taste was great, a creamy custard with a soft vanilla. Strangely though, it left an almost bitter after taste?

This bar weighed 150g, followed a different mould and was named 'Extremely Creamy' (the other two were 'Milk'). The aroma was cloying. There was a strong almond and vanilla. The taste took a while to surface coffee, but was very subtle. The flavour was predominantly almond and vanilla

There were pieces of biscuit that added a crunch to the very soft filling. I liked it, but it did not resemble a Tiramisu - it was almost as if it was a mix of the Vanilla Almond and Crème Brûlée...

Overall, I especially enjoyed the firm bite and curved tops of the Vanilla Almond and Crème Brûlée, the Tiramisu felt a lot softer. The bar was divided into large pieces meaning that you had to bite through each piece...thus creating an exciting experience as you're more aware of the texture contrasts; the hard coating against the soft filling... 

Taste wise, it was inevitable that these were going to be sweet, it would have been riotous for them not to be. These Creations were a genius idea from Lindt, and for someone who doesn't really like Lindt (except the Excellence)... I actually really enjoyed these. A must try!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Co-operative Peruvian Dark Chocolate with Dried Sweetened Cranberries

After absolutely loving and savouring each bite of Co-op's Milk Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee chocolate bar, I was pleased to see that I had another one of Co-op's fairtrade 'truly irresistible' bars - but this time it was a dark chocolate with a fruity twist

This chocolate contains 52% cocoa solids with cocoa from the Acopagro co-operative which is based in the province of San Martin in the Amazonian highlands

A distinct aroma, I hate to say it but it was hinting towards a urine-like smell... it was a real funny smell to describe. There was a rich sweetness from the dried cranberries and darkness from the cocoa too but something, maybe an alcoholic or celery smell rather than urine, caused for quite a peculiar aroma. Oh and it didn't smell bad!

As the chocolate begun to melt, I could gradually begin to feel the dried cranberries ... which had a shrivelled, chewy texture

The chocolate itself wasn't really dark tasting but it was rich, and the cranberries had a tart sweet taste. I am interested to know what the chocolate alone tastes like. Apparently the characteristics of this Peruvian cocoa is a powerful berry flavour with a strong kick and a slightly bitter finish

You would have thought a cherry and dark chocolate would have been the more likely and safer combination, so really this is quite an interesting pairing, well I certainly haven't seen it before. I didn't enjoy this chocolate as much as the other Co-op premium own-brand milk chocolate but you know what? It wasn't bad

The other Peruvian chocolate the Co-op has to offer is a Dark Chocolate (52%) with Roasted Hazelnuts and an Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate. But they also have a nice selection of Ghanaian and Dominican Republic chocolate