Chocablog readers may not be too familiar with the Tchibo brand, and a glance at their UK website is unlikely to make one think of them as a purveyor of fine chocolate, offering as it does a bizarre assortment of household cleaning equipment, lingerie, office goods and bedlinen.
However, in Germany Tchibo coffee shops are quite common, and it was there that I came across their selection of chocolate bars. Of course, it would have been silly to buy just the one, so in the interests of research I bought all three.
As you can see, they come in ascending order of cocoa content, with the ‘middle’ bar having additional cocoa nib and coffee bean ‘crispy bits’ in the mix.
The packaging is of the box type, with the front opening to reveal a gold foil encased bar. Each of the bars continues the current trend for single region beans, giving each bar a distinctive flavour.
The milk chocolate bar comes from Venezuela, and at 42% is a very rich, creamy milk bar with a fuller chocolate taste than many ‘milk’ bars. It has a great creamy texture on the tongue and is perhaps one of the better milk bars I have sampled recently, no doubt due to the high cocoa content.
In the case of the ‘middle’ bar, I can’t help but think that when faced with the dilemma of what to call it, Tchibo decided that the addition of coffee and cocoa nibs would serve to differentiate it from the other two. This does not detract from the bar itself however. This is a great tasting bit of confectionery, and the coffee/cocoa combination works very well. The chocolate is just on the mild side of dark (or the bitter side of milk, if you prefer) and delivers a nice rounded chocolate flavour before you start crunching on the crispy bits.
The dark bar comes from Ecuador, and is therefore remarkably similar to bars produced by Lindt, LIDL and others. A rich, bittersweet chocolate hit which melts very quickly and floods the mouth with the dark flavours of 71% cocoa. (Perhaps they went that 1% extra just to play one-upmanship with the Belgians?)
As far as I know, these are the only three bars currently offered by Tchibo, and I have to say that, like LIDL, they have managed to come up with some very good products. Further proof that good quality chocs can be found in some fairly unlikely places.