The thing about touring a whole bunch of chocolate shops in one day is that by shop number six, it is all getting a little overwhelming. And that is what happened by the time I got to Artisan du Chocolat, but one bar caught my eye on the shelf because it had a puppy and kitten on the wrapper and who doesn’t like puppies and kittens? Exactly. Luckily the bar in question is actually flavoured with Mandarin and Mulled Spices rather than what the photo suggests – it is a limited edition bar to raise money for the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
I’ve always been a fan of orange in chocolate, so this blend of mandarin and spices seemed like a home run to me, at least on paper. And with all those flavours in the mix, I wasn’t particularly bothered about the chocolate being too dominant but it is rather lovely – creamy and the perfect base for the assorted spices, and coming in at 35 percentage-wise. The bar itself is only 45g and as has been noted here before, that makes for a very, very thin bar.
The confusion comes with the balance of all the flavours. The back of the box lists cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, black pepper and vanilla but someone went a little crazy with the cloves. It is all about the cloves, at least initially and by the time they make way for the slight hint of mandarin, all the other spices have more or less disappeared too. It isn’t unpleasant by any means, but it is a bit disappointing considering the flavour explosion I had imagined prior to unwrapping the bar.
Anyway, no matter what the chocolate tastes like, it is all for a good cause and the puppies and kittens will thank you no matter what.