Zotter – Labooko Panama 72%

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I decided to give Zotter another chance. I never got warm with their filled chocolates, but I loved the Mitzi Blue I tried some time ago. So, when I saw this bar in a shop in Meran I bought it because I wanted to try another plain bar from Zotter.

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(the pictures are realy old, the chocolate was not yet past it’s best before date when I ate it and took the pictures).

The bar contains actually two thin bars, each weighting 35g. The list of ingredients: cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, salt. Cocoa content: 72% minimum.

On their homepage Zotter writes about this chocolate:
The wonderful Cocabo cocoa is traditionally cultivated by indigenous cocoa farmers far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life under the protection of the Panamanian rainforest. This ensures a steady income for the natives and enables them to live in harmony with nature. Cocoa is an ideal protection for the environment as long as it is planted in a mixed cultivation.

Cocoabo stands for COCABO (Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples de Cacao Bocatereña), a co-operative of cocoa producers located in the eastern district of Bocas del Toro, Panama, founded in 1952.

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Inside the chocolate bar, there is a card giving suggestions about how to eat chocolate, and some more information about the cocoa.

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I ate the bar after dinner, when I eat most of the dark chocolate bars I’m eating. I shared it with friends, and we all agreed that the bar is not much special. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s boring. Good balance between sweet and tart, but the aromas are so delicate, they are hard to taste. So, we ate the bar, but I expected more of it. Even pairing it with wine did not improve it.

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I expect I need to keep trying to find another Zotter bar that makes me really happy.

Etisa – Vinschgauer Marillenschokolade

Yes, we visited South Tyrolia again last year. And I bought another bar from Etisa. Last year it was red currant, this year it’s apricot. The chocolate has it’s name from the biggeds river in South Tyrolia, the Etsch (or Etisa in old German).  Venustis, the company where Etisa belongs to, is situated in the Vinschgau valley. And apricots are omnipresent there, that’s why it’s sold as a local product. The couverture is from the Swiss company Felchlin (Grand Cru Maracaibo 66%, Sur del Lago).

The list of ingredients is found on the back: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, soy lecitin, bourbon vanilla, apricots, appel pectin. The information is given in German and Italian.

Together with the chocolate, a small booklet is given, which gives information about South Tyrolia, the apricots there and the cocoa used for this bar. On the picture, you can see the church tower of the village Graun, which is nowadays situated in the artificial Reschen lake.

The chocolate itself looks nice and clean. It’s quite thin, and the single pieces are large. As the filled chcolate does not break that easy, the big pieces are good to manage. And the chocolate is too good to eat a small piece anway. The chocolate bar has a nice snap, I guess that comes from the thin chocolate layers and the Felchlin couverture.

Tastewise, the chocolate and the apricot “jam” do harmonize well. I think the red currant one I bought last year was maybe a little bit better, because of the higher acerbity of the red currant. But the bar was anyway a nice after dinner treat, which did not survive for long.

Rausch – Amacado 60%

I’m a terrible chocolate blogger. My biggest issue is not that I am too lazy to write posts about chocolate, but that I don’t even eat chocolate at the moment. I have a wonderful stash waiting for me to eat myself through it. But somehow I’m not that tempted.But I try to make an effort.

I bought this Rausch bar on a business trip to Germany, in a shop I think was a Rewe supermarket. It’s one of Rausch’s Plantagen Schokoladen (plantation chocolate bar). Apparently, they used to suggest that for these bars, only beans from one plantation are used. In this case, the Amacado plantation in Peru.But nowadays, they adapted that saying; now it on their homepage they state that the Amacado bar is made from beans from the best plantations in Peru. That’s not quite the same, but I can’t say if there is a plantation in Peru called Amacado or not.

Rausch itself is based in Berlin, Germany.

The ingredients of the bar are printed on the back: cocoa, cocoa butter, cane sugar.

Yes, if course the bar looks a bit aged. I’ve had it for a while. But it was not *that* long over it’s best by date when I started eating it. Tastewise, this bar is the best Rausch bar I’ve had so far. It’s rather sweet, reminds me somewhat of a spicy hot chocolate. It’s moreish, which means that while I write these sentences, I’m finally finishing this long overdue bar.

Tiroler Edle 70% Purissima, no sugar

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This is my second Tiroler Edle bar. The first, one, I bought myself in Vienna, about three years ago. This one here was a gift from my sister.
The Tiroler Edle chocolate bars are milk chocolate bars with milk from Tyrolian (very cute) cows. The chocolate (couverture) for the purissima bars are from Domori (for the filled bars, it’s from Felchlin).

I like milk chocolate bars with a high cocoa content. In fact, I absolutely loved the bar I tried before from Tiroler Edle. But this bar here, is the first bar I ever tried where the whole content list is cocoa mass, milk poweder and cocoa butter. There is no sugar in this chocolate.

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I have a sweet tooth, I drink my coffee usually with sugar, and I like sweet chocolate bars. So, the first piece I’ve tried of this bar, the somewhat tartly, dry almost furry feeling in may mouth felt strange. But then, the chocolate started to melt, and I experiences a fruity, creamy, strong chocolate flavour.
While I can’t say that a little bit of sugar would be fine, I have to say, this bar works the way it is.

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It would also work with sugar. As is shown in the 75% bar I tried before. But it also showed me, that I do like bars without sugar. I didn’t like the 100% cocoa bars I’ve tried before (uneatable for me). But with milk, the cocoa gets fine (as in refined) enough for me to be palatable and enjoyable.

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And the bar works excellent with a glass of red wine. Here, it’s maybe even better than a bar with sugar. Pure harmony.

Berger Edelbitter

I have seen chocolate bars from Confiserie Berger I the shops before, and I think because of their packaging, I never bought a bar. Maybe a word about the packaging… the bars I encountered most often double served as greeting cards, and I never felt like buying myself a greeting card.

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But this bar, I was given as a gift. And it has a neutral packaging. I think if I remembered right, the bar was bought in Salzburg. The bar is wrapped in milky waxed paper and a carton, where the infos are printed on. I think the packaging looks nice, and the bars are clearly distinguishable from other brands.

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Confiserie Berger is from Austria, they started making chocolate in 1994. Funnily, their address reads “Chocolate Alley 1″. The ingredients of the bar are: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and vanilla.

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The bar suffered slightly. Wether this comes from me not stashing the bar as well as I should have during the summer, or if this happened during the transport to me, I don’t know. Anyway, there was some blooming going on. I don’t really mind, but the photos look better without blooming.

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Tastewise, the bar is quite standard. It has a good melt, and is quite moreish, has a good sweet/bitter balance. But it’s not one of those bars where I enjoy each piece as slow as possible because it’s so full of interesting flavours. This one here, it’s just a chocolate bar.

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Merz – Macaé 62% (Valrhona)

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When we visited the Merz shop/restaurant in Chur, I spotted this chocolate bar. What makes it unusual, is the wrapping. It’s wrapped in a metal box like the crayons I used to have in school. Looks simple and elegant (but might be a bit an overshoot for something perishable like a chocolate bar… now I have to think about how to use this box once the bar is gone).

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On the back, the ingredients are found. They are printed on these standard bakery ingredients stickers (is that a rule that they need to look exactly like that and are printed with a laser printer? Half a life ago, when I was working in a bakery, they had the same stickers. Seriously).

And the list of ingredients reads as follows: dark chocolate couverture (Valrhona, min 62%), consisting of cocoa beans from Brasil, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla extract.

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This bar is made with couverture from Valrhona. I assume, it’s made of this. I’m not sure what exactly was put in by Merz. But inside the bar is a note by Roni Merz(CEO of Merz), where he states the motivation to present a personal selection of great couvertures from all around the world.
This is completely fine by me, I don’t get my hands on Valrhona chocolate that often (I’m not actively looking, I’m anyway more buying chocolate that just passes my way anyway).

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The bar looks beautiful. It has a warm glowing brown. It has a simple mold, with the Merz logo on the lower right side. The bar has a good snap (and the hard box makes it easy to break off pieces anyway.)

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The chocolate has an excellent melt. It has sharp hints, and is fruity. The taste is not boring, and has a good tartness/sweetness balance. (my taste descriptions are still really bad. This says Valrhona about this bar: Macaé is characterised by exceptional melting smoothness bringing out freshness and fineness in the tasting. Charming with dry yellow fruits notes at first, Macaé captivates the palate with its woody, peppery and toasted aromas unveiling a bitter-sweet and black tea hinted finish. Sounds good, right?)

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(and I need to find a reuse purpose for the box soon, the bar is vanishing fast! Since it became colder again, I eat again a lot of chocolate)

Duffy’s – Star of the Dominican 65%

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Finally I’ve come accross another bar of Duffy’s. I wrote about the Peru bar more than two years ago, and as I’ve not yet found a place where I can get Duffy’s chocolate around here (but I admit, I have not been very actively looking), I had to wait until somebody went to London and brought me back another bar. This bar has been bought in the Paul A. Young shop in Soho.

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This bar is made of fair trade and organic cocoa liquor from the Dominican Republic. It’s a 80g bar, and at £4.50, it comes not cheap. The list of ingredients is found on the back: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, sunflower lecithin. All ingredients are fair trade and organic.

The wrapping is quite simple, a paper shell and golden aluminium foil. Compared to a Lindt bar, it looks very home made.

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And if you wonder about the blackberries on the pictures… when I took the pictures of this bar, we went berry picking. And I thought they might make a good accessoire to the chocolate. The berries, peaches and plums are also the reason I don’t get to eat that much chocolate at the moment… we have so often a fruity dessert, that I don’t even think about chocolate (shocking, right?).

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The mould of the bar is simple, just plain pieces the perfect size for eating. And as the bar has a nice snap, it’s easily possible to break the pieces with the tongue, which accelerates the melting process in the mouth.

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I really like the taste of this one. I can’t say I detect the Delicious soft strawberries with a rich smoky Lapsang Souchon aftertaste. they describe in the tasting notes. But this bar rocks. And it’s a shame that I just put the second last piece of it in my mouth (I’m eating chocolate, drinking red wine and writing this blog post. That’s the perfect kind of multitasking). The bar has a good smoothness, having it in the mouth is the equvialent to lying in bed in your PJs. It’s just pure comfort. It’s fruity, chocolatey and the aroma lasts quite long. And it works perfectly with red wine.

So good in fact that I could sit the rest of my life on this couch sipping red wine and eating of this chocolate bar. Too bad, that I’m eating now the last piece, and that my glass of wine is also empty.

The bar can be ordered from here.