On my recent mad dash around the online world of French chocolate I visited the Chapon site to buy myself a few bars. As well as a bar from St. Domingue (or Haiti as it’s called now), one from Ecuador (they call it Equateur) and this one from Cuba. I’d heard good things about them from others and seeing as they’ve got the most wonderful packaging for their bars, I thought I’d give them a go and for 5,00 € (£4.18) why not?
Reviewing chocolate you come across all sorts of weird and wonderful packing. Sometimes you’ll get ones that you’ve not seen the type of before and that’s what I feel about these Chapon bars. Each has a wonderful early colonial feel to them but in a silver type, vacuum sealed pack (with the ability to reseal) that would be suitable for sausages sold in a farm shop or a block of Cathedral City. Functional they may be, but they still manage to be artistic and intriguing at the same time.
I’m opening myself up to a lot of criticism here. But the very first bite I had of this chocolate I thought it had the perfect chocolate taste. And I still feel that way. There’s no sharp acidity to it. What there is, is perfectly balanced against the sugar. It’s like holding the clutch on a car until it reaches the bite and then gradually moves off with no use of the accelerator. That’s what I feel about this bar. The natural momentum of the cocoa mass and the sugar give it a sublime character. On third, or even fourth thoughts, may be they could turn down the sweetness a slight bit?
The balance of the cocoa butter and the soya lecithin is also perfect. I know the Jean-Paul Hévin Madagascar didn’t have any soya lecithin (a natural product of soya used to stabilise the chocolate during production to stop it separating) in it, but I feel this bar is a touch better for it. It holds together well during the melt but seems to shoot popping-candy style fragments of chocolate around your mouth as it reduces to nothing. This chocolate is staggeringly good. In fact, please don’t buy any, I want it all myself.
I’m actually trying to find something wrong with it. So here goes:
- Looks good ✔ – may not be a Patrick Roger or Beschle, but it has its own lovely style
- Tastes good ✔ – out of this world. It may be a touch too sweet for some, but they do a 100% bar from Panama and Peru if you like that kind of thing
- It’s got a story? ✔ – Well yes. The packaging says “J’aime par-dessus tout travailler le chocolat, et me méfie du mot passion méfie du mot passion. Le chocolat occupe une place de choix dans le paysage gourmand. La tablette incarne le rêve de transporter son desir avec soi, dont le carré est le fragment. Avec cette tablette, je cherche bien plus à nourrir les souvenirs d’enfance que les ‘appétits.“. Which means something like: the word passion is over-used in his line of work. Chocolate occupies an important place in the food landscape and this bar aims to give you pleasure with each square with which he aims to nourish your childhood memories more than that of your appetite – or something like that!
- Do you get the feeling of exclusivity? ✔ – yes. If you’re going to important all the way from Paris, if you’re paying a fair whack for the delivery then you’re not only doing it to try great chocolate, but you also want a feeling of exclusivity, in that you don’t want any of your peers to have tried anything like it. You’re getting that with bar in abundance.
- Do you have the desire to savour the chocolate? ✔ – yes. Some bars I cam aimlessly munch. It’ll disappear but I’d not get emotional satisfaction in doing so. Just the endorphins were happy. With a bar like this you actually feel that you need to save some for later on, for tomorrow or whenever you need to escape from the world.