Another in Zotter’s “Labooko” series comparing origins, this really pushes the limit of what can be called a “milk” chocolate with a 60% formulation. Is it fair to compare a 60% against a 40% (the corresponding Peru) in the same package? Common sense says perhaps not. Nevertheless, trying a “milk” chocolate at this extreme percentage does push the boundaries for organic chocolate, if not necessarily for the milk chocolate category as a whole (e.g. Slitti’s 70% or Bonnat’s 65%). It may be worth it just for that reason. Whether, or not, this should really be called a milk chocolate is a matter of personal interpretation, but it does seem that the category of “dark milk” is becoming established as something fairly accepted rather than freakish. It’s welcome, too, to see a very different origin, interpreted in a milk chocolate. On the whole, then, this is one of Zotter’s most interesting bars.


Reviews

Alex Rast: 13-Oct-2010

Posted: October 13, 2010 by
SCORES Score/10 Weight
Aroma: 9.5 10%
Look/snap: 9 5%
Taste: 8.5 35%
Melt: 6 5%
Length: 8 15%
Opinion: 8.5 30%
Total/100: 84.25 100%
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At what point does a milk chocolate stop being a milk chocolate? Zotter again puts the subject up for debate with this – perhaps the first true “dark milk” organic chocolate bar. And it must be said, the bar is a success. It might not, with its powerful components, be what one finds in the typical milk chocolate, but it’s equally clearly much more recognisably milk that similar offerings from Slitti or Bonnat. Where does this put it next to Cluizel’s reference-standard Mangaro 50%? Apples and oranges. But this is a very nice interpretation of an unusual origin, given in an equally-unusual milk format, and when one adds the fact that it’s organic as well, a recipe for a compelling bar.

Zotter leaves no doubt as to the seriousness of this chocolate as soon as it’s unwrapped. A dark colour that might even be mistaken for a Madagascar dark chocolate states the case emphatically, and the near-perfect finish only lends additional credibility. Even more amazing is the aroma, completely unheard-of in a milk chocolate, with blackcurrant and molasses initially, then woody and earthy hints. It keeps going: pepper and spice, even a beefy hint. There seems to be no limit to the depth of exploration in the aroma, and for any milk formulation, whatever the percentage, it’s extraordinary.

Flavour is, as expected, powerful. Blackberry and cherry immediately set the fruity highlight, before a woody, cocoa character asserts that this is really a milk chocolate. Nut and grape hints appear in the finish, making for a near-complete evolution, although disappointingly, the spices in the aroma don’t make themselves known in the taste. Perhaps this is the effect of the milk. Still, it’s rather bitter, belying the presence of any milk and adding something of a jarring end that prevents this bar from reaching theights of perfection.

Unlike most other Zotter bars, in addition, the texture is far from perfect, being dry, dusty, and fudgy, an undistinguished presentation for so fine of a chocolate. So this is a near-great chocolate with a few rough edges that cause it to miss the mark. It can’t be said, therefore, to be a serious rival to Cluizel in the milk chocolate category. But Zotter has established that a 60% milk, properly treated, can be both recognisably a milk chocolate and reveal the characteristics of its origin, which is no mean feat.



About the Author

Alex Rast
Alex Rast is a long-time chocolate experimenter, taster and part-time consultant to chocolate companies. Starting in 1990 with early experiments himself in making chocolate, he quickly moved into evaluating chocolates in commercial production and assisting other companies in improving process. Over the course of many years he has evaluated over 700 distinct chocolate bars. He is one of the earliest reviewers for SeventyPercent and has helped to define and systematise the ratings system. In addition to bar chocolate, he also experiments with chocolate baking and the formulation of "canonical" recipes for classic chocolate items.