October 8, 2005

Santander – 36% – review – Hans-Peter Rot

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Written by: Hans-Peter Rot

For a milk chocolate, the appearance couldn’t be anymore impressive. It has a lovely gloss and practically no defects to suggest carelessness, haste, or that the percentage is a mere 36%. It’s a top notch exterior in all respects, with a color that falls into a typical range of light brown. Aroma is also impressive, the sugar and milk not cloying but pleasantly balanced and uniform with marshmallows, strawberries, and flowers also performing a soothing balancing act. For a milk chocolate, things couldn’t possibly look better.

Unfortunately, the flavor is somewhat of a deflating experience, paling in the wake of the magnificent aroma. It stumbles along the way with every step, taking on a thin quality that reeks of mild cocoa, but some character beyond this subtle penchant does evolve. Marshmallow sits in the foreground but ironically with less sweetness than the dark bars, perhaps because of the milk. Strawberry accompanies the marshmallow, along with clear and concise interludes of toffee, but all these notes are fleeting and the chocolate is in a sense insubstantial and too subtle.

Texture adds heft to the emaciated flavor, but it’s an odd and waxy consistency that in and of itself is considerably unpleasant. Yet Santander’s relative failure in milk chocolate is not as outrageous as it is self-evident, since Colombian cacao, with its delicate and gentle flavor, will naturally lose its unique character (and interest) with the addition of milk and sugar. These are qualities that need to be emphasized through power and cocoa content, not hidden with veils of sugar and milk. Oh well, can’t win them all, right?

About the Author

Hans-Peter Rot


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