In a previous post, I wrote about a Mikado chocolate from Croatia which was ok but not outstanding.
As the weekly meeting rolled around, we found that this time we had one with a much higher cocoa percentage; something to keep us Dark Side Dwellers happy. And orange peel – interesting. As I, and others, have written before – chocolate and orange is a classic combination which can be good – and can be awful.
Refreshing my memory here at Chocablog, I noticed that many of the readily available block-n-bar-and-lumpy-bumpy choc-orange thingies tend to limit the cocoa content to about 50% or perhaps 55%. Thinking about this a little, I’d hazard a guess that this is done to try and use sugar to balance the overall bitterness of a dark chocolate with the bitterness of the orange peel. Too much cocoa, or too much orange, and I can see how the combination might be a little unpleasant. A 72% cocoa chocolate with orange is really only comparable to the Kaoka Noir Orange which I tried a couple of years ago.
Apart from balancing sweetness and bitterness, one of the other effects of putting the cocoa at around the 50% to 55% range is that the chocolate seems to break more easily, and melt away a little faster. High cocoa chocolates (in theory) should be more intense in flavour but they also seem to have a bit more “snap” and melt away a little slower.
After the weekly meeting the collected opinions of the chocolate-munchers tasting panel was divided. One person who does not like dark chocolate was quite unimpressed: “Too bitter – I could not eat more than one piece” I disagreed, I didn’t really detect a lot of bitterness. But then again I happily munch on a Whittakers Dark Ghana 72% which is a fairly intense gob-smacking dark chocolate.
A few of the group quite liked this, without really passing any other more criticial judgement. But what struck me was that the flavour of orange was not very strong, and the chocolate flavour took a long time to develop. This led me to the two ways of eating chocolate: Crunching it up and gobbling it down like a pig just led to disappointment. The chocolate is not very chocolatey, and the orange is not very orangey. In fact, you would struggle to tell there was any orange in it at all.
Letting this slowly melt tells another story. The chocolate flavour develops slowly and builds to a pleasant intensity. It is not a strong dark chocolate, but it’s not bad. During this slow melting there is a little orange flavour, but not a lot. Once the chocolate has melted, the orange pieces then do have an orange flavour, and are a pleasant thing to suck on (noisily if you can get away with it!) or just chew up.
So to really get the enjoyment, you need to work at it. That’s actually a bit disappointing – there are other orange chocolates that are better.
The last words go to one of the tasting group who summarised it thus: “insufficiently orangey”.