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Lindt Excellence, Madagascar and Ecuador
January 30, 2007
10:27 pm
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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I think the cocoa butter is 50% of the bar, 20 grams of 40 grams…I had one of their bars recently and noticed the excess cocoa butter as well. Some people like that huge melt effect but I am not a fan…I enjoy the bars with no more than low 40% cocoa butter.

Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
January 31, 2007
4:29 am
Nicholas Zukin
Vancouver, WA, USA
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It starts off really waxy to my palate and never really goes anywhere. Very milk chocolatey tasting with an intensely sweet finish that burns the back of the throat. Not offensive. And at $2, maybe not bad for an easy supermarket fix, but….

January 31, 2007
10:44 pm
Domenico
Budapest, Hungary
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I have the same opinion. Both Madagascar and Ecuador were rather a disappointment for me. Madagascar is just too sweet and for me Lindt put far too much vanilla (or I suspect vanillin even if they write natural vanilla) in it, but for a quick fix it’s acceptable. Not the case of Ecuador which every now and then tasted to me like well-burnt cardboard on a rain-soaked piece of paper. Its finish is then particularly bitter with a strange aftertaste. And, now this is the third version of labels I could read…of course the latest without mentioning any artificial component, just cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar and natural flavor (usually this can denote vanilla for some producers). And I simply don’t believe that. It is not a simple “oh, we’re sorry, someone has screwed up the label texts” case. The whole Excellence series began with one natural or nature identical aroma in each bar (pepper in Ghana, prune in Ecuador, vanilla in Madagascar). Now you don’t see it anymore…sancta simplicitas…
However I don’t know as mentioned, what they could put in Cuba, but it is the best of the whole series to me. Despite the low 55%, at least it has a character and a taste that is not distracting or disgusting.

January 31, 2007
11:34 pm
Eshra
Southgate, USA
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Which is why, Domenico, I was so surprised that the Madagascar from Lindt had received such favourable reviews here. We definitely need to have someone disagreeing with Hans-Peter and Alex from time to time. No offense, of course;) I think Hans-Peter and Alex do a wonderful job, but they tend to agree quite often and I know there was quite a bit of unrest here when they put the US version of Lindt’s bar so high up on the top ten list–#2 to be exact.

So, although they seem to have a favourable opinion of Lindt, many of us do not apparently.

However, back to the Lindt and Madagascan: these bars were hardly great, in my opinion. I am not sure whether the Ecuadorian was Arriba cacao, but it tasted nothing of the sort to me…instead being mostly flat and boring, although I tasted it about 6 months ago.

Something was simply not right about the Madagascan bar. Yes, it is overly sweet and all that, but I really feel there is more vanilla in this bar than many of us are led to believe. Something about it just doesn’t seem natural and I wonder about the processing of the beans.

Their Ghanian bar is exceptionally bad, containing pepper and being virtually inedible. Overall, I really have been upset with Lindt as of late. They need to try a little harder….

Sean

February 1, 2007
11:45 am
russjm
Stockport, United Kingdom
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Well, as a total novice, and new to the forum, here’s my contribution.

I bought a Lindt Excellence Equador bar last night, along with a Day chocolate Co Divine bar. The Lindt bar, to me, has definately got a cardboard like flavour, and maybe a hint of raisins? It wasn’t unpleasant at all to me, a little unexciting maybe, but quite nice. The Divine bar was fruitier to me, maybe a litle sweeter, and kind of heavier in texture in the mouth but not as grainy? As I said, I’m new to all this, so I’m not trained up yet [;)], however, I found both bars perfectly acceptable. I guess of the two, I prefered the Divine, purely for the fruitier flavour and slightly smoother texture, the Lindt left my mouth quite dry and bitter, but it was still nice.

My wife sat next to me chomping a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (GASP).

February 1, 2007
5:59 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I agree to some extent to the objections regarding the Lindt series, but ultimately, I find that the company has improved in quality, not just in relative terms but on an overall basis. Comment after comment has been centered around the vanilla and the alleged sweetness of the chocolate, but then I read in another forum how the sweetness of Valrhona’s vintage bars is actually appreciated and deliberately *overlooked* to detect the *other* flavors. Why is this acceptable for Valrhona and not Lindt?

A company such as Valrhona understandably holds a higher reputation and thus our expectations are equally high, but does this also mean that we create for ourselves a soft spot for such companies while at the same increasing our disdain for others? This suggests to me that certain misgivings of a chocolate from Valrhona, for example, can be overlooked, whereas misgivings from a larger company such as Lindt are simply not permissible.

I think the important thing to consider is to keep opinions in perspective and to draw comparisons when necessary in order to fully understand and appreciate a chocolate because initial reactions are not always the best guideline when judging a chocolate. Why? Because they’re exactly that: initial reactions, which aren’t based off of the careful scrutiny and deliberation that’s required to wholly deconstruct a chocolate.

For example, when I first tasted the Ecuador (which btw is supposedly Arriba, as stated on the back of the box) I was shocked by the vanilla overkill, but I was better prepared the second go around and was thus was able to detect (albeit barely) the other flavor components. Granted, this is not a world class chocolate, but it is good for what it is: a widely available, easily accessible, and inexpensive origin bar.

The Madagascar, on the other hand, simply shocked me in amazement, with its complexity and full gamut of flavors entirely distinct to Madagascar. While I tasted the vanilla, I was more surprised by the full scope of flavors encapsulating my tongue and therefore wasn’t preoccupied by the vanilla. This was not something I consciously did, but it just happened. The blueberries slammed into my tongue, and I suddenly became intent on detecting everything else, which wasn’t difficult at all because the procession was so effortless to detect that the vanilla was barely noticeable as a domineering force.

February 2, 2007
11:16 am
green
Trondheim, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

…does this also mean that we create for ourselves a soft spot for such companies while at the same increasing our disdain for others? This suggests to me that certain misgivings of a chocolate from Valrhona, for example, can be overlooked, whereas misgivings from a larger company such as Lindt are simply not permissible.


I definitly think many of us (although I can only speak for myself[:)]) would do such a thing. That being said, I haven’t had any Lindt for a very long time, and from what I remember, sweetness was not the reason I disliked any of the bars I’ve tried. I rather found them bitter and flat, but as I said, long time ago…

Btw, does anybody know what the differences between US and eurpean versions are, or had the topic been discussed previously?

February 2, 2007
4:14 pm
Chrissie
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by green

I haven’t had any Lindt for a very long time, and from what I remember, sweetness was not the reason I disliked any of the bars I’ve tried. I rather found them bitter and flat


That is the problem I have had with Lindt in the past, mainly the bitterness and some dryness. Likewise I have not tried any Lindt for a while because of this, probably about a year. I am aware that there have been discussions on the the Lindt chocolate available in the US being different to that which is available in Europe. I find it difficult to understand why there should be such a difference between the US and European versions of Lindt’s bars. Very puzzling indeed. There must be a significant difference in the processing methods or beans used in order for such different chocolates to be produced. If that is so then perhaps it is fair to say that they should be named differently to avoid confusion?

quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

Comment after comment has been centered around the vanilla and the alleged sweetness of the chocolate, but then I read in another forum how the sweetness of Valrhona’s vintage bars is actually appreciated and deliberately *overlooked* to detect the *other* flavors. Why is this acceptable for Valrhona and not Lindt?


I’ve never tried any of Lindt’s origin bars, only the excellence 70% and 85%, so I can only hypothesise on this.

For tasting reasons I have tried to ignore the (to my palette) excessive sweetness of the Valrhona Vintage bars in order to taste all the other attributes of these chocolates. I agree that they are interesting and worth trying despite the fact that I find them too sweet. However, I would not eat them regularly or rate them as highly as other chocolates with similarly interesting flavour profiles which are not overly sweet.

In my opinion, this is one of the cases where some negative attributes have to be overlooked in order to assess the positive attributes aswell. However, those negative attributes which have been put to the side for a moment then have to be reconsidered in the whole context of the chocolate in order to form an overall opinion. I agree that this should apply to Lindt aswell as Valrhona and any other chocolate for that matter.

Personally, I find excess vanilla even more distracting and unpleasant than excess sugar. This means the Lindt Origin bars would automatically be at a greater disadvantage than the Valrhona Vintage bars when I came to rate them, that is if the Lindt bars contain both excess vanilla and excess sugar as is suggested by some of the previous posts.

February 4, 2007
8:01 am
Nicholas Zukin
Vancouver, WA, USA
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One problem may be the type of sweetness in the Lindt bar. eg, Valrhona’s Palmira bar seems ultra-fruity. It’s like eating chocolate covered berries. I would say it’s more intensely sweet than Lindt’s Madagascar bar. But it has flavor, aroma, and complexity. It comes alive on the tongue. The Lindt bar just comes across as more of a back of the throat sugary burn with a very waxy start. It’s just not especially pleasant to me. Blah. The negative aspects of something sweet without the positive aspects. (To some degree — it’s still not a BAD chocolate.)

February 6, 2007
3:21 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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This is part of the reason. The sweetness of the Lindt bars is exacerbated by the actual flavor of vanilla, which as we all know is a common flavoring in several sweet products, such as cookies and ice cream. By default, we associate vanilla with sweetness and therefore consider its placement in the Lindt bars as an overbearing force that’s not necessarily amenable to any amount of sugar you could possibly add. Therefore, even at 70% or 75% the chocolate would taste sweet, and its inherent flavor properties would still seem rather weak.

April 13, 2007
9:45 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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While passing through a local Wal Mart the other day, I decided to take a gander at the chocolate selection. And what do you know? Wal Mart now stocks the Lindt origin bars. So I picked up a few to see if they tasted different than the European bars I previously tried.

Well, although I didn’t taste them yet, I noticed that the ingredients list on the Ecuador bar stated, “natural flavoring (prune).” Interesting, huh?