The selection of chocolate bars available at the non-specialist shops in town in pretty stagnant – all the usual things from the usual suspects and that’s about it.
And while it is rather nice to be able to pick up some Lindt or even Green & Black without much effort any more, it takes forever for anything new to show up. When it does, however, it sticks out like a sore thumb on the very familiar shelves so these two new, or at least new to Canada, Côte d’Or bars almost demanded to be bought and tasted. And who am I to argue with a couple of bars of chocolate which are apparently talking to me.
Côte d’Or is making some really great chocolate these days. I always pick up their caramelized pistachio bar when I see it, and I can’t really remember being too disappointed by anything they’ve produced recently. So the prospect of a Lemon Ginger bars sounded really good to me, although the Passion Fruit variety was bought more for completeness than anything else. Like the Lindt Creation bars, these filled bars are bigger than your usual brand name bars – a satisfying 150 grams, making them a little more expensive but not ridiculously so.
These are dark chocolate bars of an undisclosed percentage, but I’m guessing no more than 60% because the flavoured filling absolutely dominates over the chocolate. The filling in both bars is much lighter both in colour and in texture – it isn’t whipped as much as a mousse filling would be, but it still melts away pretty quickly. Scattered throughout the filling are little crystals that provide more intense bursts of flavour in a way that I can’t quite decide is pleasant or not. More about that later.
The Lemon Ginger is definitely the better of the two varieties. While the ginger is the dominant aroma on unwrapping the bar, the first taste that rushes forward is lemon with the ginger being more of an accompaniment than anything else. Those who like their ginger upfront and tingly could very well be disappointed. The balance between the two flavours is handled very well until the periodic big boost of citrus from the crystals.
The Passion Fruit bar is big on flavour too and therein lies the problem or lack of problem. If you like passion fruit then you will like this, but it isn’t going to win anyone over with its complete and utter lack of subtlety.
The biggest issue I have with both bars is that they have an artificial fruit flavour which is only magnified by those damn crystals. When there is so much focus on companies using more natural ingredients, I’m not quite sure why Côte d’Or would be making something that tastes so synthetic. So I’m really on the fence about these – I still managed to eat the entire bar (eventually), but I can’t see myself picking them up again anytime soon. Approach with caution.