This morning I received a nice box of review samples from one of my favourite chocolate retailers, The Chocolate Trading Company. Packed as it was with delicious looking chocolate, this particular bar stood out for me and I couldn’t wait to review it.
It’s basically a 75% version of my favourite 100% chocolate bar, Le Criollo 100%, and I was really keen to see how the addition of a little sugar would affect the flavour of the bar.
If you don’t know François Pralus, he’s a French bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Pralus have their own plantation in Madagascar, although the packaging doesn’t actually say if the the beans in this bar come from there or elsewhere. I’m sure some knowledgable Chocablog reader will be able to tell us, but very often the answers to these questions aren’t simple.
Inside the simple paper and foil wrapper, the actual chocolate looks a little rough and ready. There’s a wonderful gloss to it, but it does look a bit scuffed and battered. Personally I like the way it looks, but this bar is more about flavour and texture than appearance.
I adore the flavour of the Pralus 100% bar. It has a touch of natural sweetness, but it has a very distintive flavour that for some reason reminds me of Marmite. But in a good way! The smooth, glossy texture – thanks to a high cocoa butter content – makes it incredibly easy to eat, and that was something I was hoping for in this bar.
I wasn’t disappointed. All the distinctive Madagascan flavour notes are there, but the addition of sugar seems to enhance the deep, red fruit notes naturally present in the chocolate. I could nibble at the 100% bar all day – this bar would be lucky if it lasted half a day! It has an ultra-smooth, buttery texture that I personally love because it’s so different from most other high cocoa chocolates, although it might be a touch too buttery for some.
The flavour is what I really love though. It’s a mixture of full on, deep, roasted cocoa beans and light, sweet, raspberries. There’s a little acidity to it, but the fruity notes are what really come through, and stay with you long after the chocolate has gone. Now I just need someone to take it away from me or I may just eat the rest of the bar in one sitting.
Highly recommended – but I’d also recommend you try the 100% bar for comparison!