In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s winter here in the UK and in the run up to Christmas we are being assailed with spiced foods, comfort foods, and of course more and more ‘gourmet’ chocolate.
Well, this is part of a range from Belgian chocolatiers Dolfin, and it seemed appropriate to review this Hot Masala milk chocolate in the chill of wintertime.
In case, dear reader, you are unaware of what exactly constitutes Masala, I shall recite from the package – Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper, Clove and Ginger. Hardly something you’d expect to find blended with a good quality Belgian Milk Chocolate, and exactly why I chose to buy it.
This is my first encounter with Dolfin chocolate, although since buying it I have become aware of their philosophy and range of products. A snippet from their website reveals a lot about their approach to their products.
“For more than 20 years, Dolfin has championed an original and inventive approach to chocolate. The company has brought the art of blending – its permanent leitmotiv – to chocolate making; the ingredients are directly mixed into the chocolate mass. Adding exotic spices, subtle flavours or fruity zests to top quality Belgian chocolate provides countless temptations for the taste buds. To convince all the gourmets of its philosophy, Dolfin also revisits the great classics. The idea is to be daring, but remembering to recognize the charm of recipes that have stayed the test of time. This quest for authenticity results in recipes that are not as sweet, favouring instead natural ingredients. To make this know-how accessible to everyone, Dolfin has created a range of 70 g chocolate bars. Because outstanding chocolate deserves outstanding packaging, the original flavours of Dolfin bars are contained in a special, carefully designed wrapper, ensuring the perfect conservation of the chocolate and its aroma. The wrapper can be opened and closed over and over again. It is easy to carry around and share, the Dolfin bar can be taken anywhere.”
The packaging certainly is unique, (bearing more than a passing resemblance to a pouch of rolling tobacco than a choccy bar wrapper) and yes, the chocolate itself is definitely not too sweet, so if (like me) you prefer the tastes of the ingredients and not a big mouthful of sickly sweetness, then the Dolfin range may well be worth tracking down.
So what does Masala taste like when it’s blended with Belgian milk chocolate? Surprisingly good, as it happens. In some ways it reminded of the Stainer Madras bar I reviewed some time ago, but where I found the Stainer bar to have distinct ‘waves’ of flavour from the chocolate, then the spicy finish, this bar gives you a combined hit of dusky cocoa and subtle spices in one go. The balance of flavours is superb – no one taste is allowed to overpower another, giving you a gently spiced, warming mouthful which is surprisingly delicious. This isn’t a bar to attack with vigour, rather something to savour in small bites (indeed, the bar is made up of quite small squares). It’s also rather pricey.
I shall be making a point of trying to find more Dolfin products (I particularly fancy their Sencha Green Tea bar) so expect to see more reviews here in future. Recommended as a special treat or a present for you chocaholic “been there done that” friends.