It was just before Christmas when I came across the Naive stall at the Southbank Christmas food market in London. Pausing for a chat and a sample, I discovered that Naive are a bean-to-bar manufacturer based in Lithuania, no less. They don’t really have a web site yet, but there is a Facebook page you can visit.
The wrapper put me in mind of Idilio’s plain, somewhat clinical design, with very little in the way of flourishes and adornments. Under the Naive logo you will find a brief ‘company statement’ which begins with “We walk when everybody is running, we listen when everybody is talking. Why not bring a little tranquility into your daily chaos” and continues with an invitation to visit the Naive farm. (If only).
So what of the chocolate? Well this particular bar is made from beans from Ghana and Cuba and comes stamped with the date it was produced and the autograph of the maker/packer. The bar has wonderfully vibrant red fruit aromas with a deep, woody undertone, and these flavours are definitely there in the mouth. The forty eight hour conch means that the chocolate still has a slightly grainy texture to it, but that’s in no way unpleasant – it’s just not as super-smooth as say a classic Swiss chocolate. As soon as a piece of this chocolate hits your mouth the acidity has your salival glands off and running. This is one of those light, fruity acidic type dark chocolates, with the red fruit and wood aromas translating into a big mouthful of dark, earthy cacao lows with top notes of new wood, fruit and an undertone of coffee.
The first thing I noticed when tasting was the lightness and acidity of the first rush of flavour. The cacao flavours are light and quite soft, with that fruitiness persisting throughout. The mouthfeel remains light throughout, and the finish is long and clean, making it all to easy to eat another chunk, then another . . .
As you might imagine, I recommend tracking this down. Bean to bar chocolate makers are still thin on the ground, and Naive would appear to be making great progress both with their product and their international presence, and that’s something that deserves more support. If you follow them on Facebook I’m sure you’ll be kept abreast of when and where they’ll be selling in London and/or other UK locations.