And we’re back onto the ‘Marmite’ of chocolate – 100%. It’s that thing that whichever of my non-chocolate industry friends get to try it end up recoilling in disgust. They just can’t handle the intense bitterness – but that’s all relative to their expections. It’s so far devoid of the traditional ‘chocolate’ flavour they grew up knowing that they don’t actually class it as chocolate. To them its like comparing rain and the sea: related, but distinctly different. To people that enjoy exploring the world of chocolate then its just another form chocolate makers express themselves in.
I do admit it though, it’s taken me a good few years to appreciate it. During that time the distinction between the terms ‘chocolatiers’ and ‘chocolate makers’ have been brought into sharp focus – not least with chocolate makers calling into question the creativity of chocolatiers.
All of the 100% chocolate I’ve reviewed here and sell elsewhere is actually made from the bean. The only exception to the rule was the Paul A. Young which was reviewed by Lizzie. Chocolatiers as a profession understand that there’s a market for brutish and intense chocolate and so they’ll purchase some couverture and brand up some 100%. There’s completely nothing wrong with that as they’ll get to express their creativity with other other chocolate and add interesting textures and flavours such as Raspberry, Chilli, Feuilantine and Sesame Seeds. If people want to try 100% or other ‘plain’ chocolate then shouldn’t chocolatiers sell it?
There’s an argument that perhaps the price should more accurately reflect the work gone into producing a chocolate, but as an Economist by training I know it’ll reflect the level of demand. £7.20 is steep for a 90g bar that hasn’t been imported nor marketed from being a particular renowned chocolate maker. But what of the flavour? It’s not actually as brutish as I expected. It’s not on the Pacari scale of harshness, but it does have some very interesting flavours. The Sesame mentioned earlier does adequately describe this chocolate, but also hazelnut, but not much else.
At first I thought this was going to be a rehash of the Valrhona 100% from Madagascar, but there was there was a complete absence of the striking red fruit notes. In fact, this doesn’t offer anything brusque or tart. That seed-cum-nut flavour is the main focus. If you’re somebody that has a restricted diet and can’t enjoy more varied dark chocolate but can explore 100% then this is one that you should certainly try. But just as people have different tastes with ‘normal’ chocolate, I’ve seen that people do like different types of 100% and you shouldn’t be pigeon-holed. But from my own desires when it comes to 100% I do prefer the likes of Bouga Cacao, Menakao and Antidote. I do, however, very much enjoy Melt’s flavoured bars, and certainly their ‘fresh chocolates’ which are a much greater test of their Head Chocolatier, Eiichi Sukegawa’s skill.
If you wanted to give it a try, you can here.