Greek Chocablog reader George Loumakis was kind enough to send us a batch of ION chocolate bars all the way from Athens recently, so this will be the first of a short series of reviews. I believe this is only the second Greek chocolate we’ve reviewed on Chocablog and it’s definitely the first for me, so I was quite looking forward to it.
I don’t read Greek (it’s all Greek to me), but luckily George was kind enough to send a short description of each bar to help me along. Mastiha or Mastic is an aromatic resin cultivated on the Greek island of Chios.
So basically, what we have here is tree flavoured chocolate – something that immediately brought to mind the Rustika dark chocolate with Cedar that Simon reviewed last year. Unlike that particular bar, this one has no visible bits of tree in it. It’s just an attractive, smooth and shiny looking bar of dark chocolate.
So how does it taste? Well if you’ve ever eaten a Christmas Tree, you’ll know exactly what it’s like. You haven’t? Well I’d better describe it then…
The mastic aroma is noticeable from the moment you open the wrapper, and that’s just intensified as soon as you put a small chunk on your tongue.
It tastes like pine needles (or how I imagine they would taste), mixed with aniseed and eucalyptus. It’s spicy, fragrant, and – once you get used it – really quite delicious. It’s one of those flavours that hangs around in your mouth for an hour after the chocolate has melted, but all it does is remind you that you want another chunk.
All those strong flavours don’t overpower the chocolate though. At only 45% cocoa solids, it’s not particularly intense (not that I think this bar needs more intense flavours), but it’s very smooth and has a pleasant mouthfeel. It might be a little sweet for the likes of Simon, but I really enjoyed it.
This is definitely worth picking up if you happen to spot a bar in the wild.