It’s been quite a while since we last reviewed any Vivani Chocolate – so long in fact, that they emailed us to tell us that they don’t actually make the last chocolate we reviewed any more.
Luck for us, Vivani’s way of rectifying this situation was to send us a big box of new bars to write about.
So without further ado, here’s some of the highlights of the selection they sent us, starting with two single origin bars.
50% Dominican Republic Dark Milk
It’s not often you find single origin milk chocolates at Vivani’s pricepoint (under £2.50 per 100g bar), so I was intrigued to try it. Unusually, it’s made with coconut blossom sugar rather than cane sugar, along with both milk and cream powder.
It has a soft texture and a flavour that’s chocolatey, if perhaps a little too roasted. It’s not particularly complex, and the flavour of the cream is also quite prominent. As a result, it wasn’t really my cup of tea.
Another bar sweetened with coconut blossom sugar. This time though, there’s only three ingredients (cocoa mass and cocoa butter being the other two). One thing’s clear from the start with this bar – there’s quite a lot of cooca butter in it. The flavour is intense, but ultimately very approachable of really quite tasty. As with the milk chocolate bar, it’s not particularly complex, but there is a hint of fruit in the background. It’s a much better bar than the milk and one I found very enjoyable.
70% Ecuador With Cranberry
Our last single origin bar is made with Ecuadorian cocoa, conventional cane sugar and tiny pieces of cranberry. I’ve always been a big fan of fruity chocolate, and I found this bar particularly easy to munch on.
As with the 92% bar, it’s quite high in cocoa butter, meaning it’s not overly intense. But neither is it too sweet. All in all another very enjoyable bar.
The rest of the Vivani bars have a slightly chunkier format and more sugar. This one comes in at 60% cocoa solids, and the thick chunks are filled with a gooey, sticky, marzipan-like substance that’s much closer to the German confectionery version of marzipan than anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. It’s too sweet and too soft for me, but those with a very sweet tooth might like it. And Germans.
40% Rice Milk Chocolate
According to the wrapper, this chocolate is made with “organic rice drink powder”. That might seem a little odd, but it really translates as “rice milk chocolate” – a milk chocolate made without dairy. That’s important, because it means that it can be enjoyed by the millions of people who for whatever reason can’t have dairy.
I recently reviewed an Almond Milk Chocolate from Artisan du Chocolat that was aimed at the same (very large) market, so it’s great to see more milk chocolate alternatives becoming available.
The flavour is quite pleasant, and there’s certainly a hint of cereal in there. I don’t know that I would eat it regularly, but as a milk chocolate substitute, I found it more than acceptable.
Finally, we have a range of smaller format 40g bars.
This 62% dark chocolate with small pieces of black cherry, is quite addictive, so it’s probably good it comes in a small format. The chocolate dark chocolate is relatively sweet, but works very well with the sour cherries that cut through the sweetness just enough.
A 35% milk chocolate with “creamy caramel” filling. I’m not much of fan of long shelf life caramels as they tend to be full of preservatives, and I have to say this wasn’t my thing. The milk chocolate is sweet, but the filling is insanely sweet and buttery. Probably my least favourite of the whole selection.
The description on the wrapper – “dark milk chocolate with a crispy espresso cream filling” – sums this up quite well, although at 32% cocoa solids it’s not particularly dark. It’s still too sweet for my personal taste, but the combination of coffee and biscuity crunch do work quite well together.
Finally, we have another bar featuring the rice milk chocolate – this time, with small pieces of “granulated orange”. The result is a flavour similar to (but perhaps a little better than) a Terry’s Chocolate Orange – but importantly in a chocolate that’s suitable for those who can’t have dairy. Again, not really my thing, but I know plenty of people who would like it, simply because it’s one of the few milk chocolates they can eat.
All in all, Vivani have a good selection of bars, especially considering the price point. I would put them in the same kind of category as Lindt, but actually rate the chocolate a little higher. The 92% bar is particularly approachable, and if you have any kind of dairy allergy, the rice milk chocolates are worth seeking out too.