Well here’s an interesting one. Last year, Simon reviewed a very similar fleur de sel & pistachio bar from Beschle. At first glance, you might even think they’re the same, but there are some subtle differences that make this one worth looking at separately.
Looking at the packaging, the obvious differences are that this bar states the origin of the bean (Madagascar, still my favourite!), and that it has very slightly less cocoa solids (down to 64% from 65%). The box also tells us that this is a 72 hour conche.
Open the box, and you’ll notice that rather than a single, thick bar of chocolate, this time we have very thin 50g bars, individually wrapped in gold foil. I prefer this format as it makes it easier to share (if you’re that way inclined), as well as being easier to break off smaller chunks. Smaller pieces have a higher surface area and melt on the tongue more quickly.
Like the other Beschle bars, these are divided into ten large squares, each with a simple but attractive cocoa pod design embossed on them.
The pistachio & fleur de sel pieces are contained within the chocolate this time, rather than being scattered on the bottom as they used to be. That means it takes a while for their flavours to be released, but when they are, they’re good. Very good.
The chocolate itself is smooth and glossy. That 72 hour conche and lots of cocoa butter are obviously at work her. There’s no in-your-face fruitiness that you often get from Madagascan beans though, and most of the flavour comes from the small pieces pistachio and fleur de sel.
The balance of sweet chocolate, pistachio and salt is spot on. Occasionally you’ll end up with a larger salt crystal or chunk of pistachio in your mouth when the chocolate has melted, but that just makes the experience of devouring this bar more fun. It’s one of those bars that’s very difficult to stop eating once you unwrap it.
It’s no surprise that this won a Gold in this year’s Academy of Chocolate Awards (though not the prestigious ‘Golden Bean Award’, as incorrectly stated on Beschle’s website). Highly recommended.