I suppose it makes sense for a country that produces coffee to also have a cocoa growing industry, but Colombian chocolate is a little thin on the ground in my usual UK haunts. This bar is a 53% cocoa semi-Dark chocolate, fairly traded by Nacional de Chocolates, who have been in business since 1920.
The concept of ‘semi-dark’ is intriguing, and I think it shows a difference in tastes worldwide. In the UK anything over 50% would usually be classed as dark chocolate, and I was intrigued as to how this might differ taste-wise from something I might call ‘dark’
As you can see, it’s darker than milk chocolate but lighter than a really high cocoa content bar might be. The smell of it is very ‘toppy’ – all citrus and light wood aromas with a slightly sweet note in there. This is further amplified when tasting. The chocolate melts very quickly, flooding the mouth with sweet citrussy high notes. I had the distinct impression that there was quite a lot of sugar involved as well, but the packaging doesn’t give a breakdown of content by percentage. Texture and sweetness-wise it reminded me of the Seeds of Change dark chocolate I recently reviewed.
It’s certainly not as deep tasting as a high cocoa content dark bar, and the more complex cocoa flavours are somewhat obscured by the sweetness, but it was certainly popular with my randomly selected tasting friends. I personally found it a little too sweet on my palate and found myself wishing for less sweet and more cocoa. It was pleasant enough, but not outstanding enough for me to want to rave about it to all and sundry. Perhaps it would work well as a ‘bridge’ between milk and dark – a ‘gateway’ chocolate, to use someone else’s terminology.
There’s no official UK importer for this product (I picked it up in Belfast) but I have a feeling that other delis and health food stores might stock it. I would certainly be interested in trying a darker Colombian bar sometime to see if the cocoa flavours are any more intense when concentrated.