Chocolate that tastes as good as it looks

That’s the slogan Kshocolat uses to headline the browser window whenever you access their ultra sleek and polished website. With a minimalist layout, glossy appearance, and handsome pictures of their products, without even looking at the actual chocolate you might be convinced that the company does indeed produce some mighty fine chocolate.  

But if there’s a lesson to learn in life, it’s that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Without much information provided on the website, you can get through the content in a matter of minutes and will still wonder just who Kshocolat is and why you should choose their chocolate over another company’s.

Admittedly, I have only tried three bars, but from this limited selection I think I can confidently draw some conclusions. Using Callebaut as the base for all their products, Kshocolat thinks they are in the business of alchemy. Now, don’t get me wrong, Callebaut does produce some quality chocolate, but when a company glorifies it into something it’s not, they’re not only deluding consumers but also themselves. Simply adding a few flavorings to remolded Callebaut couverture will not miraculously transmutate the chocolate into edible gold. This is one of several false beliefs that has been accepted with undying verity due to lack of education and, sadly, a preponderance of credulity. In a sense, then, we are a product of our own ignorance and we will continue to be if we allow companies such as Kshocolat to delude us into believing that average, standard, ordinary, run-of-the-mill Callebaut is the stuff that dreams are made out of.

This is a sad reality for those of us who are educated in the ways of chocolate and can therefore distinguish crap from cocoa. We can only shake our heads in disbelief as companies such as these continue their success just because consumers think the word “Belgian” is synonymous with “the world’s best chocolate.” (This, I think, is part of the reason why Godiva is still around today.)

So, as you may have guessed, Kshocolat is quite average—that much is certain. But just how average are these purveyors of mediocrity, and why shouldn’t you spend (or waste) your money on their bars? Here’s why:

Reserve Single Estate 72% – The review on the Chocopaedia says it all, but it has recently come to my attention that the current origin (Sao Tome, which is listed on the website, not the bar) has not always been consistently the same. Tanzania was once the featured “Single Estate” bar, but I guess there must have been trouble in paradise and things were moved to Sao Tome. This really doesn’t matter, I suppose, because Kshocolat only needed to change their order with Callebaut when making the switch. They probably figured that since the two origins taste virtually the same that no one would be the wiser. 

Honeycomb & Vanilla – The packaging advertises crunchy honeycomb inside the bar, but the ingredients list never mentions the word “honey,” instead alluding to glucose and sodium bicarbonate which in the United States may be misleading. Being the gullible consumer that I am, I honestly thought honey was used in the bar, but, hey, I guess we all learn something new every day. So, other than not tasting honey in the bar, the chocolate itself was very bland and sweet, offering nothing of interest. Some crunchy bits did appear, though, adding bursts of unwarranted sweetness that in the context of the saccharine film coating my tongue was, in a word, excessive.

Cardamom & Orange– I like cardamom and I like orange, and I like both flavors mixed with chocolate. Obviously, Kshocolat can’t possibly mess this up, right? Well, unfailingly, they did. The bar as a whole is very sweet and too strongly geared towards the orange component and not the cardamom. This lovely spice already boasts an inherent citrus flavor, so it seems counterintuitive to combine it with orange in such meager amounts that its presence is barely noticeable. But Kshocolat apparently expressed no qualms in doing so.

Again, I admit that after sampling only three chocolate bars, I am not sufficiently well-versed in Kshocolat’s tongue, but like I said previously, I can certainly draw some conclusions about the remaining bars.

I think my main problem with this company is that they hide distasteful chocolate behind a thick veil of pretense, assuming that we, the stupid consumers, can’t form our own opinions. This is a pretty bold presumption on their part, and in some ways, I take offense even if it doesn’t apply to me.

What also burns my biscuits is that Kshocolat stretched the truth on two of the bars I tried. This tactic is not what I call clever marketing but rather misinformation. Folks, you shouldn’t produce a single estate bar and not list the name of the estate in which the cacao was grown. Heck, Kshocolat didn’t even state the origin on the packaging!

Anyway, this opinion piece has grown much longer than I anticipated. I just wanted to say that I’ve tried chocolate that has looked much worse than this stuff and tasted much better. And also…. Ah, forget it, you catch my drift.

Hans-Peter Rot

 

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