Chocolate tasting!

Tucked away in the corner of our spare room I have a little paper bag in which I hide all my naughty treats so they don’t get “accidently” eaten while I’m out of the house. Hidden in this bag were several posh bars of chocolate I had acquired over the past few months on my travels and forgotten about.

Having just finished my box M&S Swiss Collection chocolate I’d had since Christmas, I fancied a chocolate hit but couldn’t decide which bar to open.  After a little bit of pondering I had a great idea: why not open them all at once and call it a tasting? So here are the results of my gluttony.

All 5 chocolates

Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Orange and Cardamom: £1.79 (or 3 for £5), 90g, 40% Cocoa.

Thorntons with orange and cardamon

This is from Thorntons range of Chocolate Blocks, some of which have won taste awards (their lightly salted pistachio is just divine!).  This particular block smelt distinctly like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange when I opened the pack which didn’t really fill me with hope.  I’ve always thought the chocolate in a Chocolate Orange has really gone downhill over the last few years.

Luckily this chocolate tasted much better.  The orange, although fairly prominent, did not taste as overpowering as it smelt.  The cardamom was pretty hard to detect and I wasn’t really sure if I could really taste it or if I just thought that because it said on the pack that it should be there.  You could notice it through the texture though as there was a slight graininess to the chocolate.  Not a problem if you chew it, but noticeable if you let it melt slowly in your mouth.

The chocolate itself was from Ecuador, but with the orange flavour it really could have been any chocolate.  I could easily eat the whole bar in one as this was very more-ish, it was not however refined or particularly special. All things considered, I think £1.79 for the bar was a bit much!

Frey Suprême Citron & Poivre, Bought from a Migros Supermarket in Geneva for CHF2.60 (£1.69), 100g, 55% Cocoa.

Frey citron and poirve

Frey is the no.1 chocolate brand in Switzerland so I had high hopes for this offering.  Inside the cardboard, the chocolate was wrapped in foil.  Tearing this open, the chocolate was beautifully glossy and divided into 10 big squares and had a fresh spicy smell. Letting this chocolate melt in my mouth the flavours were fairly subtle, providing a hint of lemon and a gentle burn on my tongue.

By contrast biting into the chocolate resulted in sweet sharp bursts of citrus from the tiny pieces of crystallized lemon zest.  These were strong and sherbetty enough to cause me to winch the first time I chewed the chocolate, but once I knew what to expect I really enjoyed it.  The chocolate itself had a lot of depth for something that only had 55% cocoa and it stood up to the lemon really well.  A combination I had not seen before, but one that I really enjoyed.

Montezuma Organic Milk Chocolate with Chilli and Lime – £2.29 in Waitrose, 100g, 34% Cocoa.

Montezumas chilli and lime

This smelt extremely strongly of lime and I wasn’t quite sure how such a sharp flavour would meld with the creamy milk chocolate.  Despite the strong aroma the lime was by far the weaker flavour, as soon as you put the chocolate in your mouth you got a strong chilli kick that didn’t fade at all.  I could feel it all down my throat as the chocolate melted!

Although weaker than the chilli the lime also made itself known (this was by far the strongest flavoured bar of chocolate I tried!) leaving a clean fresh taste in my mouth. However the flavour did seem slightly artificial.  The milk chocolate was well textured and nice tasting as far as I could tell, but it was masked quite a lot by the other flavours!

Artisan du Chocolate Fusion bar, Tobacco – £2.75 in Selfridges, 45g, 72% Cocoa

Artisan du chocolate tobacco

I spotted this unusual bar of chocolate while browsing the food court of Selfridges in Birmingham and was intrigued.  I’m not a smoker and I don’t normally enjoy the smell of tobacco smoke (wood smoke yes, but not tobacco) but I remembered reading somewhere about how well the flavours of tobacco and chocolate went together. So I decided to give it a go.

Upon opening the pack I was greeted by a slightly damp woody smell and a rather small looking bar of chocolate (45g is almost a snack, not a proper sized bar!).  Eating the chocolate I have to admit that the tobacco did seem to bring out a certain something in the chocolate, adding to the richness of the overall taste.  On the downside I could taste the tobacco on my breath for a long time after and I found that less than pleasant.  I think this is one for the connoisseur or the smoker, it’s not really suitable as a comfort eat as it felt a little worthy and too much like hard work to me!

Artisan du Chocolate Fusion Bar Orchid and Orange Blossom –  £2.75 in Selfridges, 45g, 72%  Cocoa

Artisan du chocolate orchid

Bought at the same time as the tobacco chocolate, this limited edition bar was a much nicer to eat (although at 45g again just as minuscule).  I quite like flowery flavours (I adore Waitrose’s lemon and lavender and rose and geranium cupcakes) and this was certainly floral.  It wasn’t too perfumed though as some floral chocolates can be. There was a nice hint of sweet orange that, along with the natural bitterness of the chocolate, stopped everything becoming too sickly.  This was another sophisticated chocolate, but one you could enjoy curled up with a book if you wanted.

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