Hachez 77% with Mango & Chili and 77% with Blackberry & Cocoa Nibs

Seventy seven percent chocolate runs the risk of going from beyond bitter to unpleasant, but these two well-tempered bars from the German company, Hachez, are interesting, intense, and incredibly satisfying.  

My question when tasting high cacao content chocolate (let’s arbitrarily set that at anything over 74%) is: How enjoyable is this? I don’t want to simply survive the experience, I want to like it. Chocolate is supposed to be delicious and enticing, whatever its percentage. In all honesty, though, I have slightly different standards for these high cacao bars. Why? They always seem more like food and less like confectionary.  So, tasting the Hachez bars, with their widely different flavor profiles, was a far cry from most of the wares I have been reviewing lately.

I liked them both.  There’s something intriguing about the Mango-Chili combo. I find mango a very satisfying flavor, but when catalyzed with a gloss of heat it becomes more than itself. If you have tried other chocolate enhanced with heat you know chili can be front and center–sometimes, overwhelmingly so.  Here, the Hachez folks restrained themselves to great effect.  You might think the Blackberry bar with Cacao Nibs is really over the top.  After all, 77% doesn’t need the addition of pure nibs to ratchet it up into the chocolate stratosphere. Somehow, their presence doesn’t send the bar into extreme territory.  Hints of berry with the extra crunch of nibs just make it complex, both texturally as well as flavor-wise. If you focus, you’ll notice a lovely scent of blackberry. 

The bars are tempered to a glossy firmness one would expect from chocolate with such a high cacao content.  They snap pleasingly, and easily break into 24 mini rectangles, which is perfect since you don’t need much to satisfy your craving.

Only one caveat: I have bought this at my local supermarket on a number of occasions.  Sometimes, it’s very fresh and wonderful; other times, it’s a bit bloomed.  While there are numbers on the wrapper, I can’t translate them into a use by date.  You might want to purchase Hachez online from a reputable place like Chocosphere.com to insure freshness.

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