Vanini Organic Uganda Range

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on October 28 2018 | Leave A Comment

Nuts seem to be something of a theme around here at the moment. Hot on the heels of the Amedei Prendimé range bars I recently reviewed, ICAM sent this colourful looking range from their Vanini brand.

These bars are a little different from the Amedei range though.

The immediately noticeable difference is bean origin. Whereas Amedei make no mention of origin at all, the Uganda origin of the Vanini bars is celebrated. In fact, ICAM have been working in Uganda for a number of years, with over 5,000 smallholder farmers directly supplying the company with beans to the company’s local cocoa collection and processing facility.

I’m not in a position to judge the ethics or sustainability of one chocolate maker against another, particularly as I was sent both sets of bars without comment. What I will say is that as a chocolate consumer, I would much rather know where the beans have come from, so I can do my own research if I want to.

The bars I was sent are:

  • Vanini Organic Uganda 34% Milk Chocolate
  • Vanini Organic Uganda 34% Milk Chocolate With Whole Almonds
  • Vanini Organic Uganda 70% Dark Chocolate
  • Vanini Organic Uganda 56% Dark Chocolate With Hazelnuts And Caramel
  • Vanini Organic Uganda 56% Dark Chocolate With Salted Pistachio Nuts
  • Vanini Organic Uganda Gianduja Chocolate With Whole Hazelnuts

The packaging looks great for a high volume brand and the colourful boxes really stand out. The bars weigh in at solid 100g and have a satisfyingly chunky feel. Of course, flavour is important too and with that in mind, I wanted to try the 70% Dark Chocolate first.

The bar has a rich dark colour and an aroma to match. My first impression of the taste is that it’s very sweet for a 70% dark chocolate. That’s quickly followed by the usual strong chocolatey, cocoa powder flavour notes that I often associate with a mass produce chocolate.

But that quickly gives way to something more surprising. As the the chocolate melts, sweet fruity citrus notes make themselves known. It’s subtle and understated but really rather pleasant. The melt perhaps isn’t as clean and smooth as a higher end bar, but it’s perfectly acceptable and very easy to eat.

Similarly, my first impression of the 34% milk chocolate is that it’s very sweet. Some of those fruity notes are detectable, but it’s the caramel notes that make this a really pleasant milk chocolate. it’s not spectacular, but it’s a significant a step up from your average confectionery bar.

I love the added flavours of the two 56% bars. You really can’t go wrong with some good quality pistachios in chocolate, and this bar is no exception. It was the first of the range to be fully demolished. The hazelnut with caramel features whole nuts with small pieces of hard caramel, which again make a bar that’s a little too easy to eat. From the satisfying crunch, it’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into texture in this range.

For me though, the clear winner in the range is this Gianduja bar. While Amedei went for three layers to add interest to their bar, Vanini have simply dropped a shed load of whole hazelnuts into theirs, and I love it.

I’ve said before that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of nuts, but this one really worked for me. The sweetness, texture and crunch of this bar made it my favourite, and all too quickly I was mourning for its loss.

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