Wednesday, 14 January 2009
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.