We’ve reviewed quite a few bars from Naive now. The Lithuanian bean-to-bar chocolate makers have built a reputation for their simple, quality chocolate and attention to detail. So I was very excited when they got in touch to ask if they could send over their latest creation for review.
As you can see from the photos, the Naive Encyclopedia Of Chocolate is just a little bit special.
Inside this simple white box are eight colour coded mini bars. It’s incredibly simple, but completely beautiful. The packaging sums up Naive’s attitude to chocolate perfectly. It’s very clean and unfussy, but it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into making it look so good.
And for the chocolate lover, there’s lots of interesting information that you won’t normally find, even on bean to bar chocolate. The back of each bar gives the conch time, roast, cacao percentage and even the bean variety. It’s presented in such an elegant way, that even if you don’t know what they mean, you’ll probably end up comparing individual bars and working out the differences for yourself. That’s the beauty of having a collection like this, as opposed to a single bar.
The bars are:
Dark Chocolate – Trinidad & Tobago
A simple 70% dark chocolate with what the wrapper describes as a “labyrinthine” flavour profile. I can’t argue with that. Not my favourite dark chocolate in the collection, but the richness of the cacao is balanced by a real sweetness that makes it very easy to eat.
Milk Chocolate With Hazelnut Cream
More of a gianduja than a chocolate, this is made with fresh, toasted hazelnuts which are added to the milk chocolate. The result is a very soft bar that is smooth, creamy, nutty and simply delicious.
Peru Pure Nacional
The wrapper describes this as the ‘embodiment of Chocolate Naive’, and it’s easy to see why. It’s beautiful, with a glossy, smooth texture and deep, fruity, smoky flavour notes. This could well be the one bar in the box that makes you wish you’d bought more.
Dark Chocolate Coffee Cream
A 60% Nicaraguan chocolate combined with Lithuanian royal coffee. An interesting and unusual take on coffee chocolate. Enjoyable, but I think I would have preferred a rich milk chocolate for this one.
Milk Chocolate With Salted Caramel
This bar is made by combining cacao butter with milk and cane sugar and caramelising with the chocolate before adding a little salt and vanilla. However, something here just doesn’t quite work for me – an unsual note in the milk, I think. Interesting, but not my cup of tea.
Dark Chocolate With Forest Honey
A 67% Madagascan bean ‘infused’ with Lithuanian honey and possibly my favourite chocolate of the collection. The fruitiness of the cacao combined with the subtle honey notes creates a flavour all of its own. Difficult to describe, and even more difficult to stop eating!
Milk Chocolate – Java / Papua New Guinea
A rich and creamy milk chocolate with a hefty 53% cocoa solids. A full and intense flavour, but still very approachable. Very enjoyable.
Dark Chocolate With Sugar Crystals
This bar is all about textures. Small crystals of unrefined cane sugar in the chocolate give it a slight crunch. The chocolate itself is rich and intense, with just a little extra sweetness from the sugar.
One of the things I like best about this collection is that it shows Naive don’t just understand chocolate, they understand people. I love that they’ve mixed milk with dark chocolates, and flavoured with unflavoured. It means that this really is a collection of chocolate bars that anyone can enjoy.
I’m really excited to see that Naive are selling online and delivering worldwide now. So really there’s no excuse not to click the link at the bottom of this post and pick yourself up a box. Go and buy some!