Shortly after my review of the (somewhat average) Gorenjka milk chocolate from Slovenia was published, a rather lovely thing happened. It began with a comment posted by a reader and culminated in her sending me a selection of fine quality Slovenian chocolate for my perusal. So, before I begin this review I ought to thank BeeBee for both her generosity and pride in her country’s chocolatiers.
I was asked what sort of things I would be interested in, and of course I asked for anything unique to Slovenia or just strange and unusual, and she came through in spades on the ‘unusual’ front with this – a 70% dark chocolate bar with Cedar.
Yes, that’s right cedar, as in the tree.
All joking about chocolate logs aside (I thought I’d get that one in before Kath) I was intrigued. How on earth does one flavour a chocolate bar with wood? Well, the answer would appear to be “with the sap of the tree”. The underside of this bar is studded with numerous gelatinous blobs which have a distinctly ‘foresty’ aroma and taste. It’s a very subtle, natural flavour (in case you were thinking pine scented bathroom freshener) with a light, citrus note combined with an earthier ‘undertaste’. On the palate the overall effect is not dissimilar to breathing forest air – very unusual indeed. The jellied blobs vary in consistency too, from ‘melts away almost at once’ to ‘quite chewy’, so there’s plenty to occupy your mouth as the chocolate melts.
The chocolate is, of course, the crux of the matter, and at 70% it’s a good strong blend with deep cocoa notes which expand outwards into a bittersweet, vanilla-chocolate-coffee complex. It has an excellent soft mouthfeel and never manages to overpower the added cedar sap blobs.
I have to say that this must be one of the oddest (if not the oddest) things I’ve ever come across in a chocolate bar, so top marks to my new Slovenian friend for picking this one out. Oddness alone is no guarantee of either quality or edibility though, so I’m glad to report that adding tree sap to chocolate (albeit as a separate entity) has worked out well for Rustika, and has also proven to me that there is good quality chocolate to be had in Slovenia.