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Candy Review: Divine Chocolate

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Gourmet Candy,Mint Candy

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Divine Assorted Chocolate Bars

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I think it typically goes something like this: friends… good, enemies… bad. Sharing… good, hoarding… bad. Chocolate… good, Buttered Popcorn jelly beans… bad. If I’ve learned nothing else in my quarter-century, these things I know. (Except for maybe that sharing thing – I think that might be more of a case-by-case kind of situation.) So armed with these all-important nuggets, I recently dug into a thrillingly sizable box of samples I received, splayed its contents out on my coffee table, and summoned my three roommates, the visiting sister and brother-in-law of one of them, and the sweet-toothed Bengali friend of another, to join me in a chocolate sampling, sponsored by Divine Chocolate.

Founded in the U.K. in 1998, Divine Chocolate is the first ever farmer-owned Fair Trade chocolate company. With their mission of improving the livelihoods of small-holder cocoa farmers in West Africa, Divine Chocolate is co-owned by the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers’ Cooperative, who receive fair trade prices for all of their cocoa, share in the company’s profits, and benefit from numerous community development projects and initiatives funded by Divine. And all these things I just rattled off? All good things. Which gave me pause, I have to admit, as I unwrapped the first of my (very generous sampling of) chocolate bars. With all these positives stacked up pre-tasting, where, I worried, might the equal and opposite list of negatives reveal itself?

Divine White Chocolate with Strawberries BarWhite Chocolate with Strawberries

This bar is gorgeous. The off-white “chocolate” is chock-full of bright red Pop Rocks-like dots, making it reminiscent of peppermint bark, but sassier. The bar, however, smells decisively of white chocolate with not a hint of fruitiness, which I attribute to the ingredient “strawberry crisp,” the only vaguely berry component in the bar. Strawberry crisp, in case you are wondering, is a red, crunchy, decidedly flavorless morsel used to provide texture and color to an otherwise soft and creamy white chocolate bar. Admittedly, I detected a VERY faint lingering strawberry flavor at the end of the bar, but that’s only because I was really on the lookout.

CO-TASTERS SAY: They like the white chocolate, as well as the crispy texture, but this product has no right claiming any strawberry flavor. This was, however, one of the most frequently revisited bars upon conclusion of our official experimentation.

Divine Milk Chocolate Crunchy BarMilk Chocolate Crunchy

The Crunchy bar boasted a much lighter brown hue than I’m used to seeing in milk chocolate, and a cross-section revealed a very airy chocolate, with tiny air bubbles and sizable crisped rice pieces. The chocolate was creamy and rich and the crisped rice – much bigger and harder than in a Nestle Crunch – gave it a more gourmet taste, I thought. This was my favorite of the sampled products.

FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY: Some thought the rice was too big and difficult to eat, getting in the way of the otherwise widely enjoyed chocolate.

Divine Hazelnut Milk Chocolate BarHazelnut Milk Chocolate

This bar is packed generously with roasted hazelnut bits (a full 10%, according to the label), as evidenced in the intensely hazelnut aroma. (In a blindfolded test, I daresay I might not have even recognized it as a chocolate product.) The chocolate is very soft (it has no snap whatsoever), thick, and creamy, and the hazelnut flavor is pronounced. If you’re a chocolate/hazelnut fan, this is – without a doubt – the bar for you. And it’s still pretty enjoyable if you’re neutral about hazelnut.

WORD ON THE STREET: The words “crazy rich” were used and a few thought this would be a really great truffle, but it might be a little too much for a full-size candy bar. Pansies.

Divine Mint Dark Chocolate BarMint Dark Chocolate

Though made of 70% cocoa solids, this bar is not as dark in color as I would’ve expected, and it smells insanely minty – like peppermint extract. It has a slightly bumpy texture from the “peppermint crisp,” which makes for a not-entirely-pleasing oral experience. The flavor is good – a nice balance of chocolate and mint – but is diminished by the awkwardly sized mint crystals, which play like a disappointing crushed candy cane tease.

SURVEY SAYS: No fans here, even with dark chocolate lovers amongst them. One taster didn’t even finish her tiny little sample.

So if we’re making generalizations, I guess, in the land of Divine Chocolate, it goes something like: farmer-owned Fair Trade chocolate… good; conglomerate-owned, inequitable, unconscionable, chocolate… bad. Milk Chocolate Crunchy bar… good, Mint Dark Chocolate bar… bad. Feedback from other tasters that makes my review easier to write… good; dissenting tastes and opinions that make it difficult to draw a clear conclusion… bad. But I tried. And either way, I got to eat lots of chocolate, which is all good to me.

Oh yeah, and keep an eye out for an upcoming review on the Divine Chocolate holiday line, also recently sampled by my esteemed panel.

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5 Responses to “Candy Review: Divine Chocolate”

  1. 1
    ButterflyKyss says:

    Why must you pick on the poor, delicious morsel that is the buttered popcorn jelly bean? What did it ever do to you? Huh? :P

    All differing opinions on Mr. BP Bean aside, the hazelnut bar sounds fantastic. I wonder why the urge to toss similar crunchy bits in every variety of their chocolates though. I’m all for texture, but a little variety in texture is the key. from the sounds of the hazelnut bar, I’m imagining it would be not only a great truffle, but maybe with a wafer added through the center it could be nearly a ferrero rocher in bar form, with better chocolate.

    Excuse me while I go scour my cupboards for chocolate now. :P

  2. 2
    amypaige says:

    these sound really good. i don’t care for plain chocolate. i only like my chocolate crunchy, so these sound perfect. i’ll have to keep my eye out for these!

  3. 3
    Lisa says:

    I’ve never tried these flavors, but I have had Divine’s plain milk and plain dark chocolate, and they’re SO delicious. I normally don’t even like plain milk chocolate.

  4. 4
    Tracy says:

    Based on the review, it doesn’t sound like this is the ultimate chocolate experience one might hope for, but I love the packaging. It feels decadent while still keeping a chic edge, which I appreciate. Cheers to candy that can look grown-up and fun at the same time!

  5. 5
    lollirocks says:

    Umm… The buttered popcorn jelly beans made my tastebuds cringe and then I couldn’t taste any thing else 4 the rest of the day!

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