I’m a huge fan of the Artisan du Chocolat Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar and I remember saying that at £2.50 it was ‘a steal’ and I actually confess to having the left overs in the bath last night. For this Organic Dark Chocolate with Coffee bar from Chocolate & Love bar to come out of nowhere and compete with the established chocolate of L’artisan du Chocolat will be a tall order. When I reviewed this bar that they sent I thought it was only fair to compare to the L’artisan bar throughout.
Purely from an aesthetic point of view I think they’ve missed the trick. I found the logo and packaging a bit average and falling well short of the design from L’artisan which looks a lot more sophisticated. Perhaps as this is a new company and when they start selling their chocolate in good volumes they’ll improve the branding. In total they sent four bars and all look essentially the same, only the name of the bar and description at the bottom was different. I’d prefer some colour coding similar to how Thornton’s design their block bars.
And when it came to opening up the packaging I found an inner cellophane packet that just reminded me of the 27p Sainsbury’s Basics dark chocolate – which actually wasn’t as bad as the price would indicate. I prefer foil or see-through cellophane, and that’s just me being picky.
On opening the aroma of the chocolate wasn’t as powerful as the espresso bar, but still have a lovely richness to it which sets itself apart from the traditional coffee chocolate which often reminds me of Mellow Birds coffee. I like coffee chocolate to have that ripe roasted coffee bean aroma and taste. This bar does that well, but wasn’t as defined as the other bar.
The flavour was similar too. For some daft reason it reminded me of a flame grilled Burger King burger in the range of the flavour. There was a really nice edge to it which was compounded with the roundness of the raw cane sugar which softened the flavour range compared to the L’artisan bar. Part of this would come from the fact that this bar is only 55% cocoa compared to the other bar which was 70%. When you put it in that context then this bar does a very good job of bringing a slight bitterness to a cocoa level which is normally less tart.
When you push the chocolate forward in your mouth you’re met with a pleasant texture. The chocolate is thick and creamy. It holds together well but is in no way matches the smooth texture of the single origin Beschle Carenero Superior – and I don’t think Chocolate & Love expected it to either.
An interesting point is that these bars are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike. There’s no genetically modified ingredients or additives such as soya lecithin too which opens it up to a wide market.
Overall I think Richard and Birgitte have done a very good with this new range of chocolate bars. They should be proud of what they’ve achieved with this bar. But still, I believe they’ve got a fair distance to travel before they can compete with the new ranges such as the Chocolate Cafe new bars. I’ve got some more of their bars to review and I look forward to taking them for a taste drive.