It’s been far too long since I’ve reviewed any of the funky blocks that Thornton’s create. I do feel that a good way to bring people further into the world of more interesting chocolate is to give them the opportunity to try chocolate with different flavour combinations. Of course we’re not talking Criollo or small batch chocolate here as you couldn’t get a bar of anything like that for £1.89. What you can get, however, is a step beyond convenience confectionery and into a one where you can explore flavour with your family and discuss what you like and don’t like – and that’s part of the joy of chocolate.
Of course, there’ll be some chocolate snobs who are negative about anything that has the Thornton’s logo attached, however, they’re missing the point. Interesting chocolate MUST be available to all people with differing resources, and Thornton’s does that. If we want to educate people about fine chocolate, it essential that they first try the more accessible and less frightening chocolate of the likes this historic company produce. It’s certainly a million miles better than the cheap, novelty rubbish that many high streets fall foul of.
In the past they’ve put together some lovely bars of chocolate, the likes of which you wouldn’t easily be able to get hold of if it weren’t for Thornton’s. I’ve tried their Bakewell Tart, Cloudy Lemonade, dark with Colombian coffee, Haitian chocolate with mango, Tonka bean (they’re not selling this anymore which is a huge shame), Salted Pistachio, Strawberry milk chocolate, Salted Macadamia, Mint and their Balsamic bar, and by and large I’ve enjoyed them.
But how does this bar fair? Firstly it’s made with 37% milk chocolate from Costa Rica which would give it a more acidic flavour than milk chocolate at the more conventional cocoa levels. After the other ingredients you can certainly pick out the classic chocolate flavours – especially at the front of the tongue. However, it would be the lemon that you’re more likely to pick up first. I absolutely adore that flavour so I enjoyed that aspect, although I’m traditionally not a huge fan of sea salt (I know, call me a heathen), but I did appreciate the variability it gave – some bites would have more salt in than others which gave more of a crunch and tasted sweeter.
I do like the sweet and the sour duality of this bar, but perhaps because I’ve consumed so much milk chocolate over Easter that I just craved something dark and moody. This is far too joyous and buoyant for an old codger such as myself. Younger people that need a hit of milk chocolate but want some flavour with it will absolutely adore this bar. I do love it in a “knock it back” which watching the soaps kind of way. But for £1.89 for the 80g bar or £5 for three bars is an absolute steal.
With the pressures that Thornton’s are under I hope they don’t lurch towards the gimmicky novelty chocolate that every high-street seems to have a ‘chocolatier’ for. I do hope the guys there do continue produce interesting flavour combinations as these and the others they’ve done in the past and differentiate themselves from the gimmicky end of the market.