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Candy Review: Blanxart Sabores Line and Chocolate Negro Bar

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Gourmet Candy

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I once listened to a radio broadcast about a baker who manufactured artisan bread in Maine. When he was asked what possessed him to become such a baker, he replied with a response of almost disbelief:

“To me, artisan bread just means making the best possible bread by hand. I think everything should be made that way.”

The sheer simplicity and truth of that statement has stayed with me over the years, and it is one that rushed to mind as I began reviewing a line of chocolate bars from Blanxart.

Blanxart is a Spanish confectionery company created back in 1954 by three brothers. Now, Europe is frequently associated with gourmet chocolate, but rarely if ever did I equate Spain with such a thought. Truthfully, as the Spanish were the first to make contact in the New World – where chocolate originated – it would make sense that they retain a claim to being the original European purveyors of gourmet chocolate.

When examining any one of their products, one is instantly reminded of the “art” in the word “artisan.” Their chocolate bars are enrobed in some of the most beautiful packing I have ever seen, featuring prints from wood cutouts done in the 16th century.

Though it is wrong to judge a piece of candy by its wrapper or presentation alone, I can’t help but believe that any company who produces such an exquisite design, a finalist for the Best Packing Award from NASFT in 1998, would compromise on quality when it came to taste. Thus, the bar was set high from the packaging alone, and my expectations and I eagerly ventured into the world of Blanxart’s product line.

Sabores is the newest addition to the Blanxart family. It features four different dark chocolate bars: Orange, Tea, Nibs, and Ginger.

Dark Chocolate with Orange

Blanxart Dark Chocolate with Orange

From sight alone, I cannot escape the beautiful chunks of orange embedded on the underside of the bar set in a burnt orange hue. Truthfully, orange is not a flavor I typically enjoy, especially combined with chocolate, but the luscious bits invited me to doubt my assumptions.

The taste of the chocolate is quite milky and smooth on the throat. Each orange piece bursts in zest, but not with a citrus note. There is a slight chalk consistency, but despite that, the product impresses me. As someone who normally shuns orange, this bar found the perfect balance of flavor, intensity, and taste to mold what is such an incongruous ingredient into the fine bar it is.

Dark Chocolate with Tea

Blanxart Dark Chocolate with Tea

There is a slight green mold/algae look to the underside, resembling a fine dust that has collected on the bottom. From the smell, my brain is performing somersaults: it is like taking a whiff from a tea bag, but I can still detect a fine dark chocolate, coupled with mint notes. I was surprised by milkiness of this dark chocolate. I am not sure I am a fan of tea in chocolate, the flavor of it being too bitter to mesh with the inherent bitterness of dark chocolate to begin with, but for those whose mouths possess a penchant for such a thing, this bar will most certainly satisfy and more.

Dark Chocolate (85%) with Nibs

Blanxart Dark Chocolate with Nibs

The flakes on the underside resemble walnut pieces. A quick smell unveils a rich, dark chocolate aroma infused with elements of smoke, wood, and coffee. The snap is easy, the smell is muted, and the intensity actually enhances through the chew. The bolder flavor completely overshadows the nibs’ presence. I enjoy dark chocolate, but 80% is typically my delineation between what I can stomach and what I can’t. I preferred this one the least, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad bar; for those who enjoy such intensity, it is a gift for your palate.

Dark Chocolate with Ginger

Blanxart Dark Chocolate with Ginger

My eye’s interest level is piqued by the yellow crystals on the underside of the bar, reminding me of how lichen grows on rocks. The flavor of the ginger is soft at first, and it then sprouts like a gorgeous flower as you chew. The chocolate is remarkably milky and sweet for dark chocolate. This bar was like the violin of a string quartet. I adored it most for hitting the notes only a special instrument can. Not all flavors work well with chocolate, and ginger can certainly be a tempestuous contender, but Blanxart manages to extract the essence of the flavor without the intensity, and mix it with an equally mesmerizing chocolate. This was my favorite of the Sabores line not only for its novel taste, but also for its intelligence.

Chocolate Negro Bar

Blanxart Chocolate Negro

The only product outside of the Sabores line that I was sent to review was what can only seem like an unadorned piece compared to the prior reviewed bars: a regular dark chocolate bar; however, I was actually most eager to sample this product.

Why? Because the one consistent element to the Sabores line was the constant reliance of a spectacular piece of chocolate, regardless of what it was combined with. Simplicity is often the key to great candy, and a simple but delicious dark chocolate bar could very well sate even the pickiest of Candy Addicts.

There are no traces of unneeded sweetness or fat in the bite. I think this bar is exquisite. I have never tasted dark chocolate that manages to shun its bitter element so well without resorting to sugar to compensate. All the products in the Blanxart line utilize fresh ingredients and are never manufactured with artificial flavorings, colors, or even corn syrup. Each bar tasted like genuine chocolate, but none rang this tune of naturalness more than this bar.

I tried to write this review similarly to how I write my others. You know, throw in some personal story with bits of levity and keeping it short. I could not manage to do so with this product. Blanxart’s line of chocolate exists in a league of its own, and thus, it deserves to be reviewed with all the praise and seriousness of such entitlement.

Now, I know many people will not become fans of this line. Dark Chocolate is already considered a Love ‘em or Hate ‘em candy, and the infusion of nuanced flavors, such as tea and nibs, won’t win over unconvinced fans. That is fine because Blanxart isn’t aiming to appease this clientele of the candy market.

No more so than with this line was I reminded of independent art films and classical music. Both are considered to be intelligent avenues of artistic presentation that often disappoint the masses, while satisfying a minority of the population. Blanxart flavors are complex and innovative, forgoing the sour, ridiculously sweet, and artificial elements most people associate with chocolate. As a result, it will be impenetrable to a lot of people because they have grown up on inferior chocolate, sealing their taste preferences. While it is a shame that this chocolate will fail to placate the average person, at the end of the day, I think that’s fine because this is far from your average chocolate.

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One Response to “Candy Review: Blanxart Sabores Line and Chocolate Negro Bar”

  1. 1
    Dani says:

    Wonderful review! It always surprises me that dark chocolate is “love it or hate it” – I mean 85% chocolate, sure, but just regular dark chocolate? Like, if you don’t like regular dark chocolate, do you really like the taste of chocolate?

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