As much as I enjoyed my visit to The Chocolate Tree’s chocolate factory a few months ago, the real test is always in the tasting. And so I made sure I left with a bunch of their bars which have been waiting patiently for my attention.
The two at the top of the pile have enough in common for them to be considered together. They are made from the same batch of Madagascar beans, except for one big difference – one has been made with unroasted beans. Everything after that is comparable: similar conching times (40 versus 45) and the end results look pretty similar too. The 70% raw bar isn’t quite as dark as the other bar which is 72%. It couldn’t quite pass as a milk chocolate, but it definitely is lighter.
The packaging is rather lovely – very thick paper, covered in colourful flowers held together with stickers that carry all the details of the bean to bar process for that particular bar. It retains that homemade, artisan feel that The Chocolate Tree are so fond of.
How does it all taste though? Well, the raw bar definitely has some of the classic Madagascar fruitiness, but without the roasting those flavours are not fully developed. And I miss that. To me, there’s something lacking even though there are some other more subtle notes lurking in the background. But it isn’t for me.
The other bar is much more to my tastes. All the berries and fruits come flooding through immediately and don’t let up even after all the chocolate has gone. This is a really, really good bar of chocolate with lots of depth, and is even more impressive considering that it is the result of some of The Chocolate Tree’s first bean to bar experiments. At 72%, it finds just the right balance between bitterness and sweetness, and it is a really easy bar to eat. It didn’t last long at all.
Good stuff, and I’m really excited to see what comes next from The Chocolate Tree.