Al from the brand, spanking new Chocolate Society dropped me over a couple of Vestri bars to see what I thought – and after a long hard day in the office I was glad to endulge myself in some chocolate from a new source.
Vestri are an Italian company who, like Hotel Chocolat, own their own cocoa plantation in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I can’t find any information about the up the cacao variant used to make this bar as this one is actually made from cacao from Madagascar. I know you can get varietal of Criollo there, and it does have that have that intense, punchy, full-flavour offering that Criollo tends to exhibit, so it must be … mustn’t it?
Even if I don’t know for sure the origing of the cacao, I do know that I love the packaging although I did get confused at first as it reminded me of the Argentinian flag as the colours were predominantly white and light blue and included a sun – I can be daft at times! These bars are also muc smaller than ‘traditional’ fine chocolate size. The only other bars that I remember with this square shape are Domori and T’a – both also from Italy.
Even though the outer packaging was almost original in style, the block itself was. It was basically one block with no indentations and just the Vestri logo embossed into the centre. Generally I like bars to have ‘snap points’ but as this bar was only about 4mm thick there was no problem breaking off a piece. And it’s the snap that the Vestri Gran Cru offers that I found absolutely devine. It is as crisp, direct and as perfect as you could wish for.
The aroma was unusual, however. Thoughts of wet woodland sprang to mind and mixed with, dare I say it, ammonia. Don’t let that put you off though as it only forms the upper reaches of the aroma spectrum, the rest is occupied by the usual acidic notes which classic fine chocolate exhibits.
The flavour is radically different. It’s more fruity than earthy and there’s a Pimms & lemonade quality to it which is massively appealing but also offers a hint of Marmite which is much softer than that offered by the utterly sensational Pralus Chuao 75%, although its still very enjoyable. What’s more, the 65% level would lend itself to a touch sweeter profile, and it if you’re after that then you’re very much on to a winner here.
I generally do like my chocolate a touch more robust, but if you’re looking for a lighter dark chocolate (if that’s not an oxymoron) then this is the bar for you. Also it’d be a wonderful bar to introduce somone to darker chocolate or as a summer chocolate.
I very much liked it, there’s a good sweetness that you’d get from summer fruits and a delicate texture which lead it to be an incredibly enjoyable bar of dark chocolate – although you can get 71%, 72%, 81% and 100% Vestri bars too.