In almost two years of reviewing chocolate, I don’t think I have ever tackled anything from Thorntons, but when I saw this bar, I just had to give it a go. Not only is it 75% cocoa, nor is it just made from Tanzanian cocoa, but it’s the first bar I have ever seen which is made with balsamic vinegar. Any of those three traits would have piqued my curiosity, but I have to admit that the thought of trying a dark chocolate bar with balsamic vinegar set my mind to wondering just HOW interesting it might be.
The bar itself is rather attractive, bearing as it does a sort of abstract monogram type design in the top left corner, and a Thorntons logo further down.
As you can see, a couple of the ‘squares’ are oversized, putting me in mind of some of the Cocoa Bean chocolate I have reviewed in the past. The chocolate itself is dark and glossy, with a tangy, wood and leather aroma which bears a hint of the balsamic vinegar (which was added in powder form, apparently). It has a good ‘snap’ and a smooth, rich mouthfeel.
The overall flavour of this chocolate reflects its aroma quite well. It’s quite dark but with tangy, slightly tart high notes (obviously due in part to the balsamic vinegar). The vinegar tastes never overpower the cocoa flavours, and the overall taste is very much bittersweet, woody and slightly tart with a quite bitter aftertaste (due in no small part to the vinegar) – but in a really good way.
The blurb on the back of the box modestly claims that this is ‘the ultimate gourmet bar’. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that statement, but I have to say it is rather good. It’s another one of those flavour combinations which might put off the less adventurous palate, but equally it rewards the more intrepid chocolate eater with a great combination of tastes which are definitely aimed squarely at the more adult palate. Also, being Thorntons it isn’t hugely expensive, and it’s widely available. If I were you, I’d treat myself to a bar of this for Christmas.