If there’s one thing I’ve discovered since I began writing for Chocablog, it’s that modern chocolatiers love to experiment with texture and flavour. Alas, it’s still the case that continental chocolate makers seem to have the upper hand when it comes to variety and, well, oddity.
Take this for example. There I was, strolling through Athens on my way to get the plane home, when I espied this sitting in a rank in one of the shops. French organic chocolate with seaweed in a Greek airport – you couldn’t make it up. Of course I had to buy it. Chocolate and seaweed? Who wouldn’t? Besides, I’m quite partial to a bit of seaweed anyway.
Now I’m assuming that because it’s organic (well, everything but the seaweed is) the manufacturers decided to go for the ‘recycled brown card’ look for the packaging. Unfortunately the result of this was that my immaculate bar of rich dark, posh chocolate was a little scuffed and broken by the time I slid it out of the sleeve at home. Still, it never affects the flavour, does it?
As you can see, the chocolate itself is a lovely piece of work. Dark, glossy, and embossed with the maker’s mark – somewhat reminiscent of the J. D. Gross bars I reviewed a while back (of which more to come). Flip the bar over and that’s where you see the seaweed element.
The underside of the bar has been dusted with tiny flakes of dried seaweed. (Brittany seaweed, to be precise).
The chocolate itself is fantastic. Rich, dark, smooth and tangy, with elements of citrus, spice, woody notes and a soft, lush mouthfeel. The seaweed flavour is there, but very subtle. If anything combining it with the chocolate serves to bring out the slightly sweeter tastes it possesses, and at no time do the two tastes do battle on your palate. In short, delicious, if a little left field. But since when was that an issue?
This is my first Bovetti bar, but having browsed the internet (their website is unfortunately broken for English speakers) I have a feeling I’ll be keeping my eyes open for some of their other products, which include chocolate coated mustard seeds, rosemary leaves, coriander seed (already a winner with me anyway) and pimento pepper. It would seem that Bovetti are definitely ‘out there’, experimenting with spices and herbs in a way that few others have tried.
I’d recommend this to any chocolate lover just based on the quality of the chocolate alone, but I genuinely enjoyed having those flakes of seaweed tickling my tastebuds as well. Great work, and I hope to find more very soon (although Athens is a bit of a slog).