Nibs, if you don’t already know, are simply the unprocessed bean. Before it’s been refined and had sugar added. Just like chocolate, they vary in flavour, depending on the variety of cacao, where they’ve been grown, and how they’ve been processed by the farmer. And as the back of these bags is keen to point out, they’re very high in anti-oxidants, and incredibly good for you, although I’m not sure covering them in sweet milk chocolate is the healthiest way to enjoy them!
The one thing you don’t get from nibs is sweetness, so that chocolate coating really helps turn them into something enjoyable, and counteracts the natural bitterness. By weight, you get 50% nib and 50% chocolate in both varieties, and the dark version is 70% cocoa solids, the milk version a healthy 40% cocoa solids.
And they taste great too. They have a satisfying soft crunch to them, like a little chocolate covered nut, although there is the occasional harder, more gritty piece. It’s an interesting texture, and brings home the fact that this is quite a natural and unrefined product.
I decided to let the chocolate melt away in my mouth before crunching the nibs to release the flavours. Surprisingly, the first thing I got was a banana like flavour, followed by a whole range of fruitiness and toffee. After that, the bitterness kicks in, and is particularly noticeable if there’s no chocolate left to take the edge off it. But it’s an enjoyable bitterness because those most basic chocolate flavours are still in there.
What you have here is a delicious – and quite healthy – chocolate snack that disappears all to quickly. But I can at least console myself with the fact that I’m now packed with antioxidants, I suppose. Certainly worth picking up a bag or three if you’re in the Borough Market area.