This is my second ever Stainer bar, and I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Andrea Stainer’s chocolatiers have supernatural powers.
This was another purchase from the Etruscan Chocohotel’s Chocostore, and it caught my eye mainly due to the unusual (some may say bizarre) combination of flavours it purported to offer. I mean, the only other chocolate I know of with honey in it is the venerable Toblerone, but ginseng?
My experience of ginseng is that in tea form it bears more than a passing resemblance to niffy feet; certainly NOT something I’d consider blending with good quality chocolate!
This bar boasts 57% cocoa content (no word on the amount of ginseng or honey involved), making it a borderline dark chocolate in my book (perhaps we need to agree a cocoa-content scale to facilitate definition?). As you can see, once again it is beautifully packaged, with a cryptic Number 6 above the title/contents heading.
Unlike many ‘posh’ chocs, Stainer chocolate seems to avoid any carving, stamping or branding of the bar itself, offering the consumer a simple sellophane wrapping and squares of chocolate with a slightly cambered top surface.
The smell of this bar is delightful. There is an immediate hit of honey, followed by that luscious cocoa aroma one finds in the best quality bars. When eaten, the honey flavour gets first go at your tastebuds, flooding your mouth with it’s subtle sweetness, closely followed by the chocolate melting into the mix. The ginseng sits as a kind of subtext to the two main flavours – very subtle but still definitely ‘there’, and the chocolate is as smooth and creamy as you would expect it to be.
It’s an idiosynchratic blending of disparate flavours (excuse me, I seem to have a dictionary in my throat) that works incredibly well and makes me wish I’d sampled Stainer chocolate before leaving Perugia. Had I done so, I would almost certainly have bought more of their products, just to see if they can consistently produce such wonderfully different flavour combinations.
If anyone from Stainer happens to read this, I would be more than happy to work my way through your entire range, and it will be a sad day when I eat the last square of the last bar. I may have to open a Stainer franchise!