This is a tale of two chocolates. One good and one… less so.
But let’s begin at the beginning. Szántó Tibor is a Hungarian bean-to-bar chocolate maker. I’ve reviewed one of his chocolates before – a rather tasty number with almonds and paprika, so I was quite excited to try more.
The first bar I was given to try was an 80% Madagascan, which seems to be made with the same moulds that Duffy Sheardown uses for his smaller bars. It’s a nice design, but the Szántó Tibor bar clearly has imperfections on the surface.
The chocolate is in date, the moulding is clean and it has a nice snap to it, but that’s where the good news ends unfortunately. The aroma is slightly fruity but astringent, and the flavour is horribly bitter. I don’t know if it’s an issue with the roasting or something else, but it’s gritty, astringent and very difficult to eat.
I can’t believe this is by design, but how a bar this bad got through any kind of quality control is a mystery to me. I didn’t manage to eat more than a couple of small pieces of this bar.
Moving on. Next up we have the “House Blend” 70% Grand Cru Venezuela. The English part of the label helpfully tells me this is blend of Maracaibo Classificado and Sur del Lago criollo beans. The tasting notes tell me to look out for “black berry fruits, roasted walnuts and fine cacao aromas”.
Out of the box, this is a much better looking chocolate. It’s glossy and really quite attractive. The marks on the front are simply where the cellophane inner wrapper had stuck to the chocolate slightly.
This is the complete opposite of the Madagascar bar. Immediately, the roasted notes make themselves known. If anything, it’s probably roasted a little too much, but I happen to like that flavour. As the tasting notes say, there’s distinct nuttiness to it too, although for me it’s more peanuts than walnuts – something very unusual.
This is a very easy to eat bar and such a contrast to the Madagascar.