Tesco might not be the first place you turn when you’re on the hunt for fine chocolate – it certainly isn’t for me – but as tastes change, more and more we’re seeing supermarkets jump on the ‘single origin’ own label bandwagon.
It’s something I have mixed feelings about. While it’s great that we’re all becoming aware of better quality chocolate, own brand single origin bars are often difficult to trace and made with lower quality cocoa in order to keep prices down.
So how does this little 71% bar made with Madagascan beans stack up?
First things first: the wrapper. It might be a minor point, but saying that the bar has been “made by expert chocolatiers” is a little irritating. Even Tesco should know that chocolate is made by chocolate makers. Chocolatiers are people who make filled chocolates & bonbons from that chocolate. Both are skilled artisans, but they’re not the same thing.
That aside, it’s a nice enough looking bar with a nice, simple ingredients list to boot; Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Vanilla Extract. The one thing that tends to mark this kind of single origin own brand chocolate apart is that very rarely will you find nasties like added vegetable fats.
The flavour notes on the wrapper describe it as “Predominantly rich cocoa throughout with notes of fresh fruit and a hint of honey”. Those notes may be a little vague, but they are quite accurate. It’s unusual for a Madagascan bar in that you don’t get the normal blast of citrus flavour notes from it. Instead, it’s more subtle, rounded and gentle.
For me, that immediately makes it less interesting than your average Madagascan chocolate. While there is a hint of fruit to it, it never really makes its presence known. What you do get is a rich, chocolatey flavour with some roasted flavour notes and a smooth, buttery texture. It’s certainly not spectacular, but it is actually quite pleasant.
On face value, I’d recommend giving it a go, but there is one little fly in the ointment; the price.
Although I can’t find this particular bar on the Tesco website, the other bars in the range are retailing at £1 for a 100g bar. At that price, I have to wonder where the money is going, if the farmers are getting a fair deal, if it’s being made in a huge automated factory and to what extent “expert chocolatiers” were involved in the process.
Assuming everyone is getting a fair deal, then it’s worth trying this bar. It’s not a world beater, but it’s above average for an own label chocolate bar. If nothing else, it would make a great dark chocolate to bake with.
I have reached out to Tesco to confirm who makes this bar from them and will update this post accordingly with their response.