Monday, 19 November 2012

A Miscellany of Chocolates

A 50g bar of Sicilian Dolceria Bonajuto 65% chocolate flavoured with cardamom winged its way to my house from London recently. I had heard that the chocolate was very good and I was looking forward to trying it. Founded in 1880 in Modica, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. The chocolate was not at all what I had been expecting, which was something dense, rich and smooth.

Dense and rich it was, but it didn't melt in your mouth at all; it had a surprising crunchy, sugary texture which was not too sweet despite the crystalline nature of it. The texture reminded CT of Kendal mint cake, only much nicer he thought and not nearly as sweet. Cardamom can be a tricky spice to use with chocolate, too much and it becomes overpowering and slightly bitter, but if done well, it is a great combination. This was just about right, giving an aromatic quality which lingered on the palate after being eaten. Fiona thought that this was more like raw chocolate than tempered and I can see what she meant, it's certainly not like the artisan bars we are used to finding over here, but I have to say I thought it was delicious. Thanks very much to Fiona of London Unattached for sending me a bar to try from her Sicilian travels.

Last month, I won six Geert chocolates from Mostly About Chocolate. I haven't had high quality artisan filled chocolates for a while so I relished these. They came in a cute little transparent box too. Thank you Judith.

Daintree Estates - smooth slightly caramel flavoured truffle.
Spotty green - praline with something I couldn't quite decipher.
Madre - dark and bitter truffle with an unusual but exciting citrus like flavour I couldn't identify.
Golf - praline with crunchy feuilletine and crystaline texture that tasted slightly peanutbuttery.
Ceibo - dark chocolate truffle - tasted of rum & raisin with a hint of orange, but far more sophisticated than the bars of Old Jamaica I used to love as a child.
Beans Original - a truffle with an odd flavour which again I couldn't identify.

I was sent two bars of Niederegger marzipan to review a few months ago, a 40g milk chocolate stick and a 100g bar covered in plain chocolate. Niederegger is a German company whose pedigree goes back to 1806 and is still run by the same family in Lübeck where it all started. Famed for its marzipan which is substantially higher in almonds and lower in sugar than many brands, it continues to sell a range of marzipan products. Rather stupidly, I disposed of the wrappers before writing down the ingredients, so I am unable to give them here.

The milk chocolate marzipan didn't really do it for me. Marzipan is one of the things where I infinitely prefer plain chocolate as my accompaniment. The milk chocolate in this case was just too sweet and also rather chunky. I found that the ratio of marzipan to chocolate was too low and detracted from the glory of the obviously excellent marzipan.

The plain chocolate version was much more to my taste. The marzipan was very much the main event and just a thin covering of plain chocolate gave it a welcome edge. The marzipan had a good texture and a nice almond flavour without being overpowered by excessive amounts of almond extract. It wasn't particularly sweet either which I find is often the case with bought marzipan. All in all, I'd say, with Christmas just around the corner now, that this would be an excellent stocking filler for the marzipan lover in your life. I know I'd be very happy with a bar or two.

Following on from my review of Ohso last month, I was sent some orange Ohso to try. CT and I sat down to savour our daily dose of probiotics. These little 35g bars contain masses of good for your gut bacteria. CT is very fussy about orange chocolate, which often tastes artificial and makes him feel ill. He liked this one though and thought it tasted like real oranges. Combined with the 53% plain chocolate, they had a sufficient complexity of flavour to make them interesting and pleasant to eat. As with the plain Ohso though, we both found them a little too sweet for our palates. Like their plainer cousins, they are available to buy online and at many health food shops.

9 comments:

  1. great way to start the day - reading a post about full on chocolate - I wish every Monday could be like this ;0)

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    1. You're so right Chele. It sure beats getting ready for work, which is what I should be doing right now.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed the chocolate from Sicily! I still have two bars to try (different flavours). The OhSo chocolates are interesting...healthy chocolate sound good to me!!!!

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  3. I agree with you Choc!

    The Niedrigger dark chocolate marzipan is one of the best you can get here in the UK. It had a permanent place in my mother's handbag for many years, her emergency rations in time of stress and despair. I adore it as well and agree that milk choc and marzipan are not good together. Marzipan in Europe and Scandinavia tends to be lower sugar and more almonds and is correspondingly dearer. Most English marzipan is not worthy of the name in my opinion, being almost all sugar and artificial flavourings.

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  4. I love that Sicilian chocolate. I am sure you are the perfect person to taste and judge chocolate. Your tastebuds only want good stuff now! Take care X

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  5. OH yes, that is chocolate the way I LIKE it, bitter and dark.....and I adore Niedrigger dark chocolate marzipan too, a great way to start the day and end it. Karen

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  6. Nice review, I love those marzipan bars. We had a German friend who used to send us a goodie parcel every Christmas including those bars. Sadly we lost touch and no longer get our teats.

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  7. During my travels I once had the chance to visit the Niederegger shop in Lübeck ... you can imagine what 'damage' this can do ... :-)

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  8. great multiple review... a bit like chocolate porn... that chocolate covered marzipan bar is the ONE for me baby!

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