I was browsing for chocolate in my local Foodland the other day, and stumbled on Alter Eco. They have a range of chocolates, so I bought a few. This is the first of those that I have tried.
If you’re into Fair Trade ideals, this should push all the right buttons: 100% natural, no artificial anything, small-scale farmers, co-operatives, traditional farming methods, unrefined cane sugar, almonds, helping Bolivian families in the Amazon. Gosh. There is just enough room left on the pack to say what the ingredients are.
This all sounds very fine and idealistic, so I had high hopes of an exceptional product. Sadly, I’ve ended up pretty disappointed. I even gave this a decent chance, opening it on a warm late-summer day when aroma and flavour should have been released quickly and easily.
As you can see from the photo, there are is a fair bit of nut showing from the back of the block – the labels says almonds are 12%. The block is simply formed and compares to other commercial products. From there, though, it’s pretty much downhill.
The chocolate is quite hard, and has little aroma. It melts slowly, and during eating it develops very little flavour. The nuts are not very nutty.
This chocolate should be good – use of unrefined cane sugar should give a sweetish fruity / earthy tone, but it’s not there. The almonds could have been roasted or better toasted or something to lift their flavour and crunch. The chocolate, perhaps would benefit from some blending. It’s very unkind but the best analogy I can come up with is that this chocolate is comparable to eating vaguely cocoa flavoured cardboard. OK, that’s a bit harsh but you get the idea.
The texture is disappointing, the flavour and aroma are disappointing, the whole experience is disappointing – and especially so when this is about 3 times the price of a comparable block of Lindt.