Ah, the power of words. Such is Josef Zotter’s reputation that when I saw the words ‘Christmas Crackling’ on the wrapper of this bar, I had to double check to make sure that roast pork wasn’t included in the ingredients! Thankfully ‘crackling’ is only a turn of phrase and not another one of Herr Zotter’s wackier creations. Yes, there are new Zotter bars coming, and this one has Christmas written all over it (well, down in the bottom left hand corner at any rate).
As ever Zotter have used a high proportion of organic and/or fairly traded ingredients, but this one has what must be the lowest percentage I have seen, with only half of the bar being composed of fairly traded goods. (This would seem to be mainly down to the apples, nuts, cranberries,cinnamon and apple brandy). This is the first time I’ve had one of Zotter’s hand scooped bars with a wrapper in English and it was an interesting read.
“Pieces of dried apples in honey caramel whisper softly in a layer of cinnamon and yellow chocolate.” Yellow chocolate? Okay.
So what’s inside the 50% Dark Mountain chocolate? Cut into the bar and have a sniff and you get a real blast of slightly boozy apple and cinnamon with fruity undertones. There are dried apples, apple brandy, and apple juice in there, as well as hazelnuts and cranberries, and it definitely smells Christmassy, albeit a more continental Christmas.
Pop a sliver in your mouth and it comes over as being somewhere between a chocolate bar and a German Christmas treat – a little like a Stollen or a Christmas cookie, with the fruity/boozy elements right up there. The filling isn’t completely smooth – there are fragments of dried apple and cranberry to nibble on, and it’s also very definitely a grown up Christmas bar. Booziness notwithstanding, the cinnamon and apple combination is unlikely to appeal to smaller chocophiles.
This bar put me in mind of a particularly fine Christmas beer I had a couple of years ago. Fruit, a little spice, and a warming undercurrent of alcohol mingle with rich dark chocolate. Perfect with a mug of hot chocolate and a rosy cheeked woman.
So if you’re a person who ‘enjoys deliberately’ (sic) and you have a taste for continental Christmas treats, this bar could well be right for you. If you’re not a fan of spicy, fruity boozy chocolate bars, I’d give this one a miss. Personally I found myself really enjoying it, but I didn’t feel the urge to eat more than a couple of pieces at a time.