I chose this bar from Hotel Chocolat, partly because I wanted a change from the usual seasonal promotional items they send us, but primarily because I’m a big fan of Madagascan chocolate. This is the first time I’ve had one of Hotel Chocolat’s single origin Purist bars, so I wanted to see how it compared to some of the other fantastic Madagascan chocolates I’ve had lately.
As you’d expect from Hotel Chocolat, the packaging is nice. Nothing over the top, but a simple card box with a slightly industrial sealed foil bag inside.
The box goes into quite a lot of detail about this chocolate, so the first thing I can tell you is that it’s actually made by Hotel Chocolat’s German partners Coppeneur. I don’t have any problem with that, as long as it’s clearly labelled on the packaging, which I’m pleased to report is the case here.
The box also informs us that the beans come from the Menavava Plantation in the Sambirano valley in northern Madagascar and that they’re grown amongst coffee, black pepper and vanilla plants. Cacao is always grown with other plants as they provide shade to the cacao trees, and many chocolate makers will tell you that these other plants directly affect the flavour of the chocolate, simply from having being grown together.
We’re also given some tasting notes: “Lively in the mouth with a fruity sourness and herbal tones”.
I would say that’s a fairly accurate description, and the flavours are all quite pleasant. The chocolate does seem rather soft for a 72% bar though, and those fruity, zingy flavours just didn’t come through as strongly as they did in the Mast Brothers or the Amano Madagascar bars – which remain my favourite two chocolates of all time.
This isn’t quite up to those standards, but it’s still a very pleasant bar of chocolate, that I would recommend to anyone who wanted to try something different from the usual Hotel Chocolat novelties. If you’ve never tried the wonders of Madagascan dark chocolate, I’d highly recommend picking one of these up as part of your education.