Here’s something a little different from Josef Zotter, and by ‘different’ I don’t mean ‘some crazy new combination of flavours’. No, in this instance the difference is that the Labooko range offer the consumer a pairing of two bars made with cacao beans from different parts of the world, but in similar styles. This particular pairing is two 35g mini-slabs of high cocoa content milk chocolate presented in a gatefold pack with quite extensive notes about the cocoa and the people who grow the beans. Unfortunately this particular pack was bought in Vienna and consequently everything’s in German. I did laugh at the “Attention, Do Not eat!” card, and I managed to work out that the beans are being grown organically by co-operatives in the respective countries. Like everything else Josef Zotter has created, most of the ingredients are fair trade and organic.
Once you open up the paper packaging and peel back the gold foiled paper, you get to see this. Unfortunately my 60% bar was a little the worse for wear, but you can still appreciate the design of the mould. Personally I find it very attractive. The chocolate itself has an initial light acidity which opens out into robust cacao flavours. It’s not particularly sweet, as you might expect from 60% cacao chocolate, and it has a long, deep finish. If you’re used to sweet, lightly flavoured milk chocolate this may come as a bit of a surprise, but if you enjoy the flavour of single origin cacao chocolate, it’s defintely worth trying.
As is the 50% Nicaraguan bar. It might be the lesser of the two in terms of cacao content, but it lacks nothing in terms of delivering flavour. Delicate, fragrant cacao with a hint of vanilla, slightly sweet and fruity, quick to melt, and with a light mouthfeel – in short, jolly good milk chocolate.
Of course as with all things Zotter, these bars are premium products, but with such excellent Fairtrade and organic credentials (and this nifty idea of pairing bars made from cacao from different countries) you do get value for money. More good news is that you don’t have to go to Austria to get your hands on them. There are a number of retail stores in the UK that now stock Zotter bars (John Lewis food halls being one of them) and you can of course order online.