Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Unsolicited Gift Of Chocolate



Okay, okay, I promised I wouldn't mention this again. But on Monday there was a knock at the door and along came chcocolate! An "unsolicited gift of chocolate", indeed, as National Geographic described it on the customs declaration. So I thought it was only fair to share a taste test with the blogosphere.



Inside the (very well wrapped & insulated - what am I going to do with all the shiny insulating foam?!) box were five bars of chocolate. They look a bit lost in a box that big, and had rattled around a lot and got broken in transit, so I reckon National Geographic Food could do with investing in a few different sizes of boxes - and with getting a bit more organised since they kindly sent me a '10% off your next purchase' voucher which expired at the end of 2008. No, I'm not complaining. I have free chocolate - there is nothing to complain about! But I know this is a fairly new business launched under the National Geographic flag, and I would hate it to let the side down.

I wish I had a 'chocolate tasting' vocabulary to match the descriptions of the world's top wine tasters - if I did, maybe I could have entertained you with "a hint of burnt rubber" or something equally spectacular. As it is, you'll have to put up with my completely uneducated analysis.


Passion Strast - dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds & pumpkin seed oil

I would never have thought of putting pumpkin seeds in chocolate. The effect is quite strange, and tastes - to me - a bit salty. Not my favourite, but intriguing.



Dagoba - single origin Peruvian Milagros 68%

Really rich but still a good texture - though there is a little of that dry, bean-y aftertaste that comes with some high percentage chocolate. I couldn't eat much of this even though, percentage-wise, it's not that strong.



Berkshire Bark - 'mocha buzz'

I love anything Mocha, and this is no exception. In addition to a gorgeous, strong coffee taste, this bar is packed with whole almonds, and little crunchy caramel bits. The chocolate itself (if you can get some by itself) is really creamy and melts onto your tongue.



El Rey - 'Bucare' dark chocolate, Venezuelan single bean 58.5%

This one looks the most mass-produced in terms of the packaging - it doesn't feel as special to open. However this is also the only one where I could have quite easily munched the whole bar without a pause (except that might have upset my husband!). Not too rich, with a very creamy texture, and a delicious taste.



Casa Don Puglisi - classic Modicana chocolate

I thought when I saw the bubbles on the outside of this bar, that it had (in spite of the amazing insulation) managed to melt in the box. But biting in to it, it is bubbles the whole way through. The chocolate is crunchy (really crunchy) in texture and barely melts in your mouth; it's sweet but not excessively so. The instructions recommend melting 1/4 of the bar in a mug of hot milk or water for a hot chocolate drink, so I will probably try that later, but it seems a shame to waste such a unique experience by melting it. UPDATE: turns out from reading more carefully that the reason it's so unusual is that it's cacao & sugar cold-pressed together rather than cooked. Wow.

10 comments:

Peggy said...

mmm....you actually tried them all?!

Kazzy said...

I too love anything mocha. Anything! They all look scrumptious! Did I mention I love mocha?

Rachel Cotterill said...

Peggy - yep, how greedy am I?! :) I didn't eat them all at once, though, so I'm a good girl really!

Kazzy - you'll have to come round for a mocha if you're ever passing & we can be mocha-obsessed together!

Darla said...

That chocolate would not have lasted in this house long enough to photo much less post about!!

Jeanne said...

So how did you qualify for this free gift of chocolate? (Great descriptions, by the way, now I want some chocolate, thankyouverymuch.)

Rachel Cotterill said...

Darla - it is actually quite a lot!! And we have a pantry full of chocolate already - bizarrely, I find I eat less that way.

Jeanne - you must have missed my endless 'I won a prize' bragging earlier ;)

Chris said...

You did an excellent job of reviewing the chocolate. I love good chocolate, especially dark chocolate. My parents lived in Venezuela for a few years when I was first married so I was able to easily get unbelievably good chocolate, fresh and frequently.

I would love to try the bar with pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. Besides the salt, did the pumpkin seed oil impart any flavor?

Rachel Cotterill said...

Chris - I love pumpkin seeds but I really didn't feel they added anything here. Maybe it'll grow on me when I eat the rest of the bar. Venezuela is on my list of places to visit, I was fascinated when I went to Cuba and heard of the way they bring across a load of people from Venezuela each year to use their medical facilities (particularly eye care, I believe).

christine said...

You ARE saving me some of the raw chocolate, aren't you, Sweetheart? Was that the last one you wrote about?

I remember doing a blind taste test with Maureen of 4 bars with different strengths - we got them right, but she took some samples home for Ian, and he didn't do that well.

ladyfi said...

My mouth is watering! Thanks for commenting on my blog. The photo is my header comes courtesy of the ice hotel in the north of Sweden. This is an ice sculpture made from the frozen local river - Torne.

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