As anyone can tell you, I love chocolate. I’m simply crazy for it and I’ll do anything to get my hands on the stuff. So I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you to hear that chocolate makes up a majority of the candy that I eat. Like Caitlin has her passion for licorice, I have my passion for chocolate. I can’t get enough of it.
Chocolate can be a difficult thing to love, simply because there’s so many types out there. I’m lucky in a sense because I’m game for all varieties; dark, milk, white. I don’t discriminate, I find it all heavenly. I do know people who’ll only eat dark, who’ll only eat milk, who’ll only eat it in candy bar form, who’ll only eat bonbons, etc. That’s part of the beauty of chocolate, there’s something out there for everyone. Since I’ve started writing for Candy Addict, I’ve starting to change with my chocolate consumption habits. And no, I’m not saying that I’m eating more of it now. What I mean is that opposed to just eating my chocolate, I’m tasting it.
For some time now I’ve been practicing this “tasting” which is just a way of saying that I’m paying attention to the flavor nuances of a specific chocolate. There’s lots of flavors to be found in each chocolate you eat, and it’s become a little game for me to try and identify the flavors that I taste. So when I was given an assortment of Lindt’s new single origin (a fancy way of saying the cocoa beans in that chocolate are coming from a single, specific geographic location) bars as a gift from friends, I was more than eager to try out my tasting skills on chocolate from such a reputable manufacturer.
Lindt Excellence Holiday Spice (dark chocolate infused with holiday spices): The package describes the flavors on the back as having “intense aromas of cinnamon and exotic spices”. It then recommends that you try it with strong coffee or espresso. I looked at the ingredients list, which shows sugar as the first ingredient, supplemented with cinnamon, coriander and butterfat.
The bar has a nice medium chocolate color and smells very rich with only a hint of the cinnamon. The chocolate has a nice snap and surprisingly melts quickly and is incredibly rich and smooth. The chocolate is wonderful! The flavor is distinctly chocolate with a nice creamy sweetness and a subtle hint of fruits. The spices are cleverly placed: they’re present in the aftertaste of the bar and they’re very subtle. The effect is a nice warmth to the chocolate and the overall richness. I get no pepper notes or intenseness from spice at all, which what I was expecting. This is a lovely bar and I hope they bring it back next year!
Lindt 75% Ecuador (Arriba beans): Ecuador is known for a variety of cocoa beans called National whose signature flavor is referred to as “Arriba”. The chocolate has a rich dark brown color and smells spicy with roasted flavors of coffee, cinnamon, and citrus. The flavor is cool and clean at first and tastes lightly of cocoa. The flavor becomes stronger and most robust at its height with notes of vanilla and coffee. I was surprised how mild this bar was, since other Arriba-based chocolates that I’ve had tended to have a sourness to them. It’s a good dark chocolate that’s friendly for beginners, yet carries a nice flavor profile to appeal to dark chocolate connoisseurs.
Lindt Madagascar 65%:This chocolate shows the same promise of quality as the Ecuador bar, yet it won’t be as intense since the cacao percentage is lower. The smell of this chocolate is of cream and vanilla, which are some of my favorite flavors to find in chocolate. It’s a silky chocolate and the flavor is nice with notes of cream and butter that develop into a milky vanilla. The finish has a fruitiness of berries and apples. Yum!
Lindt Peru 80%: The high percentage of this chocolate may be daunting to try, but I can assure you, it’s really delicious! It smells of roasted coffee and other earthy flavors and the effect is very chocolatey. The flavor is a little chalky (as I find that the higher percentages tend to have) and mild at first, then a nice chocolatey, roasted flavor emerges with a tinge of acidity, which quickly disappears and I get notes of cherry. The finish is clean and smooth with no lingering aftertaste, which is what I find many people dislike about dark chocolate. Overall I was really impressed with this bar; it’s mild considering how high the cacao percentage is, and I think it’s a good introduction into the 80% and above chocolate range.
Lindt 99%:Ah, here comes the big guns. This bar is 99% cocoa solids, which means the flavor is going to be very strong and bitter since there’s little room for sugar to sweeten it. The bar itself is wrapped differently than other Lindt bars. The extremely darkly colored chocolate sits in a plastic sealed tray with tasting notes printed on it. The other bars were wrapped in colored foil. The mold of this bar is also different that the others: the square sections are smaller and the bar is thinner and longer. Apparently the chocolatiers feel that this should only be enjoyed a little bit at a time.
The flavor is extremely bitter, which is what I was expecting. It feels very dry and chalky in the mouth. I taste subtle notes of cream, coffee, and almonds with a finish that is very clean and light. Because of the extreme bitterness of the chocolate, I’d follow the recommendations on the package and enjoy it with a cup of coffee, since it really needs something to help balance the strong flavor. This isn’t something I’d return to for enjoyment, but it is something I am happy to have tasted.
I hope this has inspired you to pay a little more attention to the next piece of chocolate you enjoy. It’s very eye opening to find how such similar looking chocolate can taste so extremely different. It reminds me of how some people experience wine, but in my case, I want my tasting medium to be chocolate!
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