Strange how you suddenly seem to notice things you didn’t see before, once you get interested in something new.
Last week, I walked into my local Delhaize supermarket, looking if they sell any products from Lindt, to start off my discovery conquest in the chocolate World. Lindt is one of the brands you’ll likely find in a good supermarket, so why not try it. Single Origin isn’t wide spread available around here in Belgium.
Highly disappointed, I walked down the chocolate isle. Only the large brands of “Belgian/Swiss-style” bulk chocolate were there.
While leaving the shop, I noticed a new stand near the checkout… Ethiquable – Fair Trade products. A row of rectangular boxes caught my eye… Chocolate.
The words Ecuador, Madagascar, 80% and 85% made me smile… the price even more. At € 2,11 for a bar of 100 g, this could be good value. Reading the ingredients on the back: cacao mass, cane sugar, cacao butter and soy lecithin as emulsifier. Alright, let’s have a go!
Madagascar – 85% (***)
Origin: Northwest Madagascar – Sambirano Valley
Bean variety: not stated on the package
This chocolate smells really nice. Deep cacao hint and the promise of fruity acidity. Exactly what surprised me when I tried my first Madagascan chocolate. When taking a bite of this bar, you notice the ever changing taste. It starts off with a dry, earthy taste, somewhat neutral, before the cacao flavour kicks in. And then all of the sudden, a nice fruity acidity. You can almost feel it giving little zings on your tongue. As the chocolate melts, the wave of gentle acidity takes over. The slightly creamy texture makes this bar really enjoyable. Almost too soon, it’s completely molten and the fruitiness is gone in a flash. In place comes a bitterness that is combined with lots of cacao. And the aftertaste keeps rolling in your mouth with a lingering smokiness and prolonged bitterness.
Far less brutal than I expected even with the high cacao content. Though it is perhaps less full bodied than the Menakao 72% I had before, it gives the taste experience I fell for when I stumbled upon the single origin fine chocolates.
Ecuador – 80% (***)
Origin: South Ecuador – Esmeraldas Province
Bean variety: Nacional
The aroma of the chocolate is earthy and dry. Quiet in contrast with the Madagascar chocolate, this one seems to lack the fruity touches. There are woody, vegetal tones and spices like cinnamon.
In the mouth, this chocolate melts slower. The initial taste is a lot sweeter than the Madagascar. It’s warmer and hides a gentle vanilla and very subtle acidity. The fruitiness seems to blend in with the taste, rather than to pop out every now and then. Almost no bitterness going on. Once molten, a big gash of cacao comes on, still slightly sweet and warm in nature. And through it all I detected the floral notes, as described on the package. The taste changes are less clear-cut and thus more gentle and round.
I was thrilled to find such taste differences in the two bars. The packages don’t state the exact manufacturer of the chocolate, but this is far superior to any bulk chocolate I find over here in the supermarkets. At an equal price. Splendid!