I often wonder what exactly makes a chocolate bar or confection so addictive. Is it the sugar? The cocoa butter’s melting creaminess? The harmonious combination of textures? I may have trouble discerning the magic, but I certainly know it when I taste it.
For quite a while now, I have been intrigued by Zotter, a bean to bar producer in Austria. Creativity, organics, and Fair Trade are the arrows in their quiver. Just reading the descriptions of their bars is like stepping into the chocolate rabbit hole. (Some examples: “Nutti Frutti: Dried sour cherries, hazelnut and almonds on a bed of cashew nougat. Coated in a smooth mountain milk chocolate; Olives with Lemon: An Italian liaison. The passionate and fresh lemon combines with the olive in a fine bitter chocolate; Muscat Wine with Grapes: Raisins marinated in Muscat and Grappa are mixed with pimento and cinnamon in a rich chocolate ganache.”)
I recently had a chance to try two of their more down-to-earth bars, bought from an excellent online site: http://www.worldwidechocolate.com.
The Butter Caramel with dark milk (50%) chocolate filled with “butter caramel cream” is delicious, but not as described. The 70 gram bar has a thin coating of delicious dark milk chocolate and a crunchy, sweet, butter caramel interior. Even though it’s crunchy, it still manages to melt in your mouth, like some of the best toffees.The filling contains a fair amount of ground almonds which give it an almost cookie-like texture. An excellent, creative bar that’s hard to stop eating.
Black Cherries with Vanilla is a bit of a misnomer. The bar claims to be “fine bitter chocolate with vanilla-cherry filling.” I would describe it as fine bitter chocolate (60%) with a cherry brandy (2%) infused marzipan and cherry filling. The interior has two layers: a thin cherry jam-like one with the thicker marzipan layer underneath. Since the second ingredient is almonds, I think calling it marzipan is appropriate. The chocolate coating was much thicker than in the Butter Caramel bar. I have no idea if that is due to an unpredictable manufacturing process or if it’s by design. I like it, but I am partial to alcohol in my chocolate, and I like marzipan. It seemed less addictive than the Butter Caramel, and heavier.
These two products are part of Zotter’s “hand-scooped line.” I think that refers to anything filled. The bar is not divided into pieces, but one long rectangle houses all the filling. This makes it more conducive to eating all at once since there is no visual incentive to break off a scored section.
Let me know if you have tried this line and if you have any favorites.