Thursday, 25 February 2010

Green & Black's Organic Chocolate

For some reason, when it comes to chocolate, I always think that you have to choose between "organic" or "fairtrade" and great taste. I don't mean that organic or fairtrade chocolate tastes horrible, it's just that I often find that it lacks that wow-factor that makes it really stand out from the rest. My favourite all-time chocolate, for example, is Galaxy because it is so decadently rich and creamy and velvety, and that's a taste and texture that I have never managed to find with fairtrade or organic varieties.

So recently, when I was asked to review some Green & Black's chocolate, I jumped at the chance - let's face it, who wouldn't for some free chocolate ?! - but I wasn't really expecting my tastebuds to have their little socks knocked off. Well, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

We received 8 different bars to review, which I thought was a pretty impressive range until I checked out their website and discovered that they actually have 15 different varieties on offer : white, milk, espresso, creamy milk, caramel, almond, Maya gold, ginger, butterscotch, hazelnut & currant, raisin & hazelnut, cherry, mint, dark 70%, dark 85%. Not to mention ice cream, cereal bars, biscuits and a whole range of other chocolate goodies like Easter eggs and cooking chocolate. With a range that extensive, you're almost guaranteed to find something that takes your fancy.

Green & Black's take their chocolate very seriously and target the gourmet chocolate-lover, rather than the kiddie market, so I wasn't really that surprised to see that on their website, they offer a guide to chocolate tasting, very similar to wine-tasting. Well, in the name of serious reviewing, I read it and followed some of the guidelines, to get the most out of the chocolate-tasting experience : "Ensure your chocolate is at room temperature. Limit yourself to around six different chocolate varieties. Allow roughly two squares per person. Any more will give you tasting fatigue. Start with the lightest variety, e.g. White, and finish with the darkest, e.g. Dark 85%". However, I admit I didn't do the pinching my nose and letting it melt on my tongue or making it melt between my fingers parts (Mike was already telling me to stop faffing around and give him another square to try when I was reading all the labels !). Oh, and I might have slightly transgressed the "no more than two squares" rule too ! Nevertheless, I could really appreciate the differences between the varieties, even when they sounded very similar in name. Each bar has a different percentage of cocoa and the higher the percentage, the stronger the chocolate taste. It really does make a big difference.

The dark chocolate varieties are very intense, slightly too intense for me as I'm more of a milk chocolate girl, but even I could tell that they were of a high quality and they didn't have the bitter or grainy aftertaste of some dark chocolates I've tried in the past. The basic milk chocolate bar was nice enough but then I tasted the creamy milk variety and was seriously impressed - it had that Galaxy-like texture that I was saying that you never find with organic or fairtrade chocolate. If I hadn't been reviewing several varieties, I could have eaten the whole bar ! The next one with real wow-factor was the butterscotch one, which tasted vaguely like a more refined, less sickly sweet Crunchie bar. It was lovely and slightly crunchy, and the little bursts of sugary sweetness from the butterscotch combined and contrasted deliciously with the relatively intense milk chocolate flavour - yummmm ! The cherry variety is also delicious, combining sweet but tart cherries with the slightly bitter taste of 60% dark chocolate. By now, my tastebuds were positively zinging !

Whether you're a total chocoholic or just an occasional chocolate-nibbler, I really recommend you try out a couple of bars of Green & Black's. They have such a wide range of flavours and varying percentages of cocoa that you really can taste the differences between the bars and the chocolate-tasting experience, comparing the different bars, is really fun and educational. The variety pack of mini bars would be ideal for this and would make a great chocolate-themed Mother's Day or Easter gift for the more discerning chocolate-lovers out there !

star rating : 4.5/5

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