A chocolate that will have you wondering where it is. Chocolove might call it “strong”, but this is a misnomer for a weak, almost watered-down chocolate that probably has too much cocoa butter. Very reminiscent of Marcolini’s 85% – another bar with more similarities to a milk chocolate than a dark chocolate in flavour and intensity.
Alex Rast: 23-May-2006
If the chocolate, out of the wrapper, looks disturbingly dark – recalling the black of its wrapper – it’s very nicely finished – shiny and smooth, with few ripples or bubbles. Some mould unevenness – or is it just the somewhat round shape of the mould – makes it a little less sophisticated than Cluizel or Valrhona on appearance but not excessively so.
The aroma is an immediate success. Powerfully chocolatey, it hits you with the sort of strong burst you expect, with something of an earthy character along for the ride. It does, however, smell possibly Dutched – the first sign of trouble. Nonetheless, on the whole it’s first-rate, uncomplex, perhaps (as the predominantly African origins would suggest), and yet very worthy.
However, the aroma turns out to be the high point of a precipitous decline into mediocrity. The primary culprit: lack of assertiveness. The flavour quickly retreats from first taste, offering a feeble cardboardy note at the beginning that makes you wonder if there’s any chocolate in there at all. There is a definite sensation of chewing wax. What flavour there is is mostly a sweet, caramelly taste, mixed with elements of vanilla – the sort of taste you’d expect out of a milk chocolate. It’s a flavour that just vanishes without trace.
Texturally the bar is excellent, extremely smooth indeed and with a beautiful creaminess, but this serves only to reinforce the feeling that there’s no flavour here, rather like Hachez’ bars tend to do. We can thus point a probable finger at the cocoa butter content – a reminder that cocoa percentage is no guarantee of chocolatey flavour! Indeed, this bar brings up the same terrible feeling of potential squandered as Hachez’ 88% does, with its great aroma and disappearing flavour. Too bad – a bar that could have been good but opts instead for anonymity.
Hans-Peter Rot: 21-Oct-2005
Just like the 65%, this bar looks quite exceptional upon unwrapping, with a shiny and smooth surface totally devoid of air bubbles. Color, though, is considerably darker, almost black, with a wonderful aroma to match. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s dark and heavy, entirely one-sided and chocolaty due to the heavy roasting or the limited spectrum inherent in the African cacao. Overall, itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s dominated by coffee with traces of cinnamon and tobacco, very ashy and brooding, perhaps portending a similar flavor. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Strong DarkĂ˘â‚¬Âť is definitely an apt description here.
Flavor is slow in coming and actually quite washed out as it struggles to deliver itself with any sort of strength the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Strong DarkĂ˘â‚¬Âť designation implied. Cinnamon can be tasted here with very weak traces of coffee, but thatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s about it. Texture is smooth if a bit thin in the mouth, as the chocolate breezes through, which indicates that this bar may have been the victim of excessive cocoa butter addition.
This bar apparently caters to an audience who feels safe and consummate at a 70% level and one who also prioritizes texture over flavor and intensity. As such, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“chocolatyĂ˘â‚¬Âť could be an ideal descriptor here, but the extra cocoa butter precludes such accolade from ever being conferred onto it. As a result, weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re left with a mere suggestion of what could have been. But at least the texture was enjoyable.