What with Japan week and chocolate covered creepy crawlies, it’s been a while since I sat down with something truly sophisticated and exciting. Thanks to a recent rendezvous with Dom at the South Bank Chocolate Festival I find myself in possession of one of the bars he was sent by Beschle, a Swiss chocolatier producing handmade bars like this.
When I opened the box and slid out the gold foil wrapped bar, I was immediately impressed with how thick it was. Divided into ten fairly substantial squares, each embossed with a simple cocoa pod motif, the bar is in the classic understated mould (as it were). Opening the foil released an immediate waft of light, tangy cocoa aromas. There are citrus, wood and leather notes in the smell of this bar, and it has a good, dense feel to it with a lovely snap. Drop a square onto the rest of the bar and it rattles like a piece of wood, showing that the chocolate has been expertly tempered.
The underside of the bar reveals the pistachio and salt element. Tiny fragments of the bright green nut are scattered over the obverse, but they are also concealed within the bar, along with the Fleurs de Sel.
In the mouth this bar offers superb complex cocoa flavours. Light on the palate and with a clean, very soft mouthfeel, the fruity, citrussy cocoa flavours are almost immediately joined by the salt, producing a quite complex array of tastes.
Deep cocoa notes with fruity highs are given a twist every time a fragment of salt melts on the tongue. The pistachio pieces contribute a little but this bar is primarily about the fine quality cocoa and it’s relationship with the salt. Indeed, soft pieces of pistachio may not be to everyone’s liking, and I could happily have done without. With cocoa this good I really just wanted as much of the flavour of the chocolate to come through, and as I rather enjoy the occasional salted chocolate I was quite happy with the two predominant tastes.
When the chocolate had melted away my mouth remained clean and fresh, with traces of the Trinitario leaving reminders of fresh, light cocoa without any bitterness and very little acidity. If you’re a fan of the salted caramel (or indeed of Lindt’s Sea Salt Bar) then I’d recommend you try and find some of this but bear in mind that’s it’s Swiss and hand made using very high quality cocoa. In other words, this bar is not cheap, but as we know the best things in life seldom are.
I really enjoyed this offering from Beschle, and now they’re on my radar I shall be keeping an eye out for more of their creations (although I suspect Dom probably has quite a few in his possession as I write this).