Back in January, Simon reviewed a bar from Naive, a Lithuanian bean-to-bar chocolate maker. The guys at Naive were kind enough to send me some more bars to try, and first on the list is this little number. It’s a 70g bar of 68% cocoa solids chocolate with fleur de sel, and as you can see from the label, it’s made with Ugandan beans with a 55 hour conch time. We like bars that give us details like that.
The packaging is very simple and precise. Hand wrapped in foil and recycled paper, it feels like an artisan product – a feeling that’s echoed in the bar itself.
It’s quite difficult to get a photo of the front of the bar, as it’s one of the glossiest, nicely tempered slabs of chocolate I’ve sene in a long time. You’ll have to trust me that my photos don’t do it justice.
The only thing breaking up the sheer gloss is the beautiful embossed Naive logo. It’s all very stylish.
The underside of the bar is covered with salt. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s immediately noticeable when you taste it. There’s an intense salty burst before the flavour of the chocolate comes through.
But the chocolate itself tastes wonderful. It’s smooth and melts evenly on the tongue, releasing an intensely warm, rich flavour. It has a natural sweetness with plenty of caramel and vanilla notes in there, but there’s also a subtle fruitiness to it. Not citrussy like a Madagascan chocolate, but much more mellow. It’s some of the nicest African chocolate I’ve had in a long time.
I’m not convinced that the salt is entirely necessary though. Maybe there’s just a little too much of it, but I find it too intense. Luckily, it only rests loosely on the surface, and if you brush a little of it off, the flavour is amazing. Just a few crystals of salt bring out the flavour of the chocolate perfectly.
Naive, being Lithuanian, isn’t the easiest thing to get hold of in the UK or elsewhere. They tell me they’re currently working on that, and you can currently pick their chocolate up from the Real Food Market and Fernandez & Wells.
If you can’t find it, I’d recommend getting in touch with them – their website is still in development, but they do have an active presence of Facebook, and I assume they’ll be doing more specialist food markets over here in the UK too. Either way, if you do get a chance to try this chocolate, don’t miss the opportunity.