Tag Archives: UK chocolate

Chocolate and Love

To a chocolate sybarite there is something exquisite about discovering a truly delicious and intensely satisfying 80% bar. I just had that wonderful experience as I dove into Chocolate and Love’s 80% Panama single origin chocolate. Beautifully tempered, it makes an audible snap when you break off one of the 24 little rectangles. Creating a great super dark chocolate takes real talent, as you can’t distract the palate with add-ins (even though I love them, too), like nuts, fruit, nibs, coffee, milk, cream, or sweeteners. This bar delivers one of the most balanced chocolate flavor profiles I have ever had. With its ultra smooth texture, raw cane sugar and vanilla pods, and only seven grams of sugar in a 37 gram portion, you have a winner on all fronts.

To make things even more appealing, Chocolate and Love houses their bars in beautiful wrappers with images of flowers, Chinese symbols, cocoa pods, hearts, peacock feathers, fruits, and leaves making them a joy to behold and give as gifts.

The beans are Trinitario, and my favorite: Criollo.

After my ecstatic 80% Panama experience, I thought I would try their 55% bar with Caramel and Sea Salt. Here, the caramel comes in a subtle crunchy form with the sea salt a zingy counterpoint.

Also in their 55% range is Dark Chocolate with Coffee. I really enjoyed the mocha flavor and appreciated their choice of 55% cocoa for its creamier texture.

At 65%, the Orange bar gives you a foretaste of what’s to come with its citrus scent.

67% Mint is a gentle presence in the form of tiny bits of peppermint crunch.

My last sample was their aptly named Filthy Rich 71% bar. For a 71% chocolate it was very mild, so if you are looking for a higher cacao content that won’t hit you upside the head, this is it.

The company is owned by Birgitte Hovman and Richard O’Connor. They are committed to making chocolate in an ethical manner and running their company similarly, So far, they have planted 22,000 trees in Ethiopia through the Weforest organization. In addition, their cocoa comes from small scale family farms through COCABO cooperative, a pioneer in sustainable management and conservable resources.

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Amelia Rope Chocolate: Pale Lime and Sea Salt 39%

By using the term “pale,” Amelia Rope has created a novel linguistic way of distinguishing her milk bars from the dark ones. The Madagascan dark sails in at 67%, while the pale bars sport a 39% Ecuadorian base. Amelia uses organic essential oils to add flavor, as in the Pale Lime and Sea Salt I sampled. The creamy milk chocolate was perked up with a hint of lime and enough sea salt to enhance the chocolate and spike the lime’s flavor. I have had other bars with lime and did not enjoy the heavy-handed way the fruit was used as it seemed to fight with the chocolate to see which could be more intense. In those creations, the lime may have won, but in the end the bar lost. Here, the smoothly textured chocolate, salt, lime are whispering sweetly to each other.

There are a plethora of choices at her shop including Pale/Dark Rose, Pale/Dark Mandarin, Pale/Dark Hazelnut and Sea Salt, Pale/Dark Coffee Bean and others. In addition, there are plain bars ranging from 39% to 75%. Each one comes with an outer plastic sleeve that keeps your chocolate fresh, assuming it will not get scarfed up upon opening. I also liked the simple, elegant brown paper wrapper and attractive dark brown ribbon.