To be honest, before I received this 38% milk chocolate bar from Thorntons I had no idea what a Tonka bean, in fact, I never knew they existed. But what was interesting is that when I first witnessed the aroma it reminded me of my Grandmother’s perfume and then when did a bit of research I found that it can be used in fragrance – I didn’t know she was that sophisticated!
Traditionally I don’t go for milk chocolate all that much as it can often be very one dimensional. But what I love about Thorntons is that they’ve joined the chocolate arms race to provide imaginative milk chocolate – chocolate that breaks the mould from what the traditionalists feel the consumer want. I’ve worked out that they’ve currently got eight of their blocks that are flavoured milk chocolate which include Strawberry, Orange & Cardamom, Toffee, Fudge, Lightly Salted Macadamia, Hazelnut & Raisin and Lightly Salted Pistachio as well as nation-specific blocks and a FairTrade Organic milk chocolate block. It’s good that they’ve moved into this direction, and after my recent tour with them that they’re getting even more funky – and boy are you guys going to love what they’ve got in store (well in the development kitchen).
This bar did have a fairly strong almond note which I found very appealing. The aroma reminded me of one of the Pralus bars I tried last year, but I can’t remember if it was the Brazilian, the Madagascan or the Tanzanian version. I could tell, however, was the fact that this was “proper” chocolate in that it wasn’t the “house blend” that managed to offer a caramelised tobacco aroma.
The snap was as crisp as I can remember from a milk chocolate bar and the crystal formation superbly tight. Would most people recognise those characteristics? Probably not on a conscious level, but all those factors will go together for a fantastic experience.
There are so many dimensions to this milk chocolate bar that I feel they’re doing themselves a disservice selling it for just £1.79 as I assume that uber-chocolate snobs might turn their noses up without realising the level of delight held in the bar. My other half thinks its “nice, but nothing amazing” – which is a great sign as she likes the cheapest, naffest chocolate there is. I always use her to judge chocolate that is in that grey area of branded chocolate that is better than one would expect.
What you may experience is that the sweetness slowly builds within your mouth to an intense crescendo. The packaging just says “sugar” but I’m not sure if it’s the Tonka infused cocoa butter, but the sugar does have the well-rounded tone of cane sugar.