Zotter goes (almost) all the way with a 100% – at least if one dismisses the addition of a little salt. Thus the claim on the package “without added ingredients” is taking some liberties with terminology – is salt, then, not an ingredient? Such pedantic quibbles aside, however, obviously Zotter makes no pretence about who they’re courting: the serious chocolate-lover who’s not at all intimidated by the pure stuff. Interestingly, though, this is the “up-and-coming” source of the 2 from Zotter’s 90-100% pack, the 90% clearly having the “star billing”. However, it is undoubtedly positioned at another level altogether from almost all other 100% organic chocolates, the only one (arguably) with similar elite credentials being Pralus’ Le 100%. A statement chocolate if ever there was one.
Alex Rast: 13-Nov-2010
A bar that sits in the shadow of its awesome partner the 90%, this chocolate inevitably is going to suffer in comparison. Yet despite the disadvantage of a high-profile brother, it holds its own and proves to be a good chocolate in its own right. It doesn’t have the depth of character of the 90%, but in compensation it proves true to Zotter’s claim and reveals itself as extraordinarily mild. This is in a relative sense of course: no 100% is going to taste less than powerful. But here is a chocolate that one could readily eat more than the 35g, without a sense of “overload”. Basic, classic flavours here produce a nicely-balanced chocolate and a fine demonstration of how to interpret a pure cocoa.
Out of the wrapper, the chocolate looks good, predictably rather dark, but with hints of reddish that minimise alarm, and with a lack of mould defects that demonstrate Zotter’s typical attention to detail. The aroma, meanwhile, already indicates the promised mildness; unlike most 100% it isn’t overpowering but rather subtle, starting with raspberry mixed with a hint of rubber, then progressing to a straightforward chocolatey with nut hints, eventually shifting into dark coffee with earthy notes and a hint of soy sauce. Nothing here is particularly unusual: these are all fairly common flavours, but the nice smooth progression without jarring notes shows exemplary balance.
The taste is again, a familiar one but where balance reigns. The initial sensation is of blackberries and cream, then a powerful coffee flood washes through. This subsides and reveals an earthy background, before interesting hints of olive and cheese poke through at the end. Nothing earth-shaking here, to be sure, but a fine basic chocolate flavour.
Unsurprisingly, the melt here is first-rate, as is easy with the pure mass; lack of other ingredients in the way makes the achievement of an effortless smoothness effortless! The flavour likewise seems to partake of this effortlessness; one feels as though here is a bean that offers no resistance. Lack of resistance does in this case also correspond to lack of drama; perhaps a few more quirks might have made this chocolate still better. But still, this is overall a very edible bar that is a credit to its origin and manufacturer.