For more years than I care to remember I’ve been nagging about the ethical and environmental side of chocolate. My bugbears have always been the fact that 99% of the chocolate made hardly gives a sustainable living to those that grow, harvest cocoa beans or those at the beginning of it’s process to turn it into chocolate. I also moan about the lack of information regarding provenance and that more often than not the environmental impact of the industry is ignored. However, with this Gru Grococo chocolate bar ticking all off those boxes, I have nothing to moan about.
This bar is awash with logos and certification: it shows the World Land Trust Carbon Balanced logo which means that any part of the bar’s production that creates unwanted greenhouse gasses have been offset. Secondly the Fair Transport logo shows that the finished bars weren’t transported by polluting aircraft, but the hybrid sailing ship: the Tres Hombres. It has also been given the Mark of Positive Living award which is given when a product has a positive impact on people and the planet. It doesn’t stop there. It also uses organic beans in production and 100% of the profits of the bar are returned to those produce the chocolate (I presume that’s the growers and not the management).
Another aspect I find dissapointing when missed is a story about the chocolate. Every chocolate has a story, many chocolate makers are embarrassed to inform you how much passion they lack when they produce chocolate. Those that are in love with every facet of it’s journey to your hands are more than willing to divulge every detail. Here, Chantal Coady and Mott Green mention how they invested in a small cocoa farm in 2007 and five years later have produced their first retail bars from that crop using their well-tended Trinitario cocoa trees. I can only imagine what it’s like to put five year’s effort and seeing it bearing fruit – quite litteraly.
I’m sure many others will have just as much impatience as I did and neglect to open up the outer wrapper and read the very detailed information inside – it has a treasure map which will bring out the inner-child of the most ardent grump. There you’ll also find some nice background as to the difficulties undertaken to bring the beans to their solar-powered facility from their cocoa farm and gain some insight into how they use fairly rudimentary equipment to process it in to chocolate – not that you can tell. The appearance of the bar is as sophisticated as you would expect from a highly polished outfit with money to burn.
Another lovely touch was the latitude and longitude printed on the label – much in the same way as Pralus do on their front of their current bars. This would be a great way of kick-starting a parent-led educational tour of the region and which islands in the Caribbean support the production of cocoa. You could load up Google maps and have a tour of the island. As it turns out a bit of maths too, you’ll need 12.163611 and 61.627222.
On to the chocolate. Holding it to my nose was just like summer fruit and hay – such warm, inviting summery aromas that just draws you in further. The finish is also fantastic. The shine is perfect and very much reminiscent of the Chapon bars I had a couple of years ago.
We’re all be clambering to the Rococo site for the flavour however. I know the back-story is great, but trust me, you’ll forget that when you bite in. At first you’ll notice a very crisp, cool texture. But that’ll soon be put to the back of your mind as the utterly beautiful soft, creamy flavours come to the fore. With this bar you most definitely shouldn’t chew. Despite being a 66% bar beneath all that rich, mango-like flavours, you should be able to pick out a discernible, fine cocoa flavour. That touch of acidity gently cuts through the pavlova of flavours to give it a most pleasant edge.
The melt also is steady and enticing. There’s no other way to describe than to get all sexual. I have a tonne of Grenada bars at the moment, but I fear non can ever be as good as this (I don’t mind trying though!
Some might point out the production flaws in the mould, but are you really bothered?
For some of you the £11.95 price tag may seem excessive. But we’re not talking about cocoa beans swept off the floor from a forced factory in Ivory Coast that have been processed like a scene from Metropolis without any love or affection. These have been lovingly made by experts. Brilliance costs, and its a price worth paying.