Still Bourne?

So following on from my blog of 8 June on the Cadbury take-over of Green & Black’s, what might the effects of this corporate mega-munching have on the fine chocolate we cover here at Seventypercent.com?

Well you could argue none – the origin chocolate world is becoming richer every day, with so much choice that for the connoisseur that the likes of G&B have become no more than a second or third best when nothing more interesting is to hand. (We can call this ’emergency chocolate’.) Outside the specialist chocolate world though, Green & Black’s are the most well known – or only – chocolate that the general public in the UK would be consider ‘fine’, and the brand is often seen as a definition of decent chocolate. (“70%? You mean Green & Black’s?”). This is unfortunate for those of us trying to promote the best of chocolate, and a loss to many a chocolate fan – frankly, if you like Green & Black’s already, then there are a hundred better tasting chocolate bars out there just waiting for you. And in this case, organic certainly does NOT mean superior flavour.

There is I think though a plus side – in the UK at least. Green & Black’s – along with Lindt – have done a lot to raise the profile of high percentage chocolate here. Not so many years ago the idea of 70% strength chocolate was nothing more than a novelty. Now even the most remote petrol (gas) station might have some Lindt, and Green & Black’s can be found on the shelves of most British supermarkets. Now G&B are part of the Cadbury group, strong chocolate will become more and more part of the mainstream norm, encroaching on the massive UK candy market and perhaps bringing UK taste more in line with Continental attitudes, where fine chocolate is common, and all (non candy) chocolate is just that little bit better. (And maybe Dairy Milk fans will be converted to the superior Green & Black’s milk?)

The downside of course is that you try G&B’s 70% and you think that’s all there is – and are put off fine chocolate altogether. And judging by opinions we sometimes hear at tastings this is often the case. This is where we hope developments like the Academy of Chocolate will help to let more people know there is a fantastic world of fine chocolate flavours out there, beyond the monotone, burnt rough taste of most industrially produced chocolate made from cheap forastero beans.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the real impact of all this is, but you can be sure that fine chocolate is on the up, and that Green & Black’s are certainly NOT the end of the story when it comes to fine chocolate flavour.

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