Babaevsky – Chocolate with Almonds 55%

Untitled

I got this chocolate as a gift from a relative who visited Moscow last year. It’s my first Russian chocolate bar, and if the blurb on the back was not also in English and German, I would not really have an idea about this bar. The bar is made by Babaevsky Confectionary Concern OAO in Moscow.

_AAG3814

The list of ingredients is found on the back (in several languages, from Russian over English to German and Kazakh): sugar, cococ mass, whole almond kernels (19.8%), cocoa butter, butterfat of animal origin (4.0%), emulsifers (soya E322 and ethers of polyglycerol and interetherified riconoleic acids E476 (whatever this is), spirits, tea, nature identical flavouring “Vanilla”. Cocoa content is 50.6%.
So, what do we have here? For my eyes, the tea, artificial Vanilla flavouring and this E476 as an emulsifier sound a bit strange. I can live with the vanilla, am curious about the tea and I have to google the E476 (–> It is used for salad sauces, and in confectionary with chocolates as it reduces the viscosity of chocolate and leads to cheaper chocolate bars, as the cocoa butter content can be reduced by using this emulsifier. According to Wikipedia, is is no danger to health).

_AAG3816

How does it look? One can clearly see the whole almonds. The chocolate has a nice warm, brown tone of a slightly different shade than I’m used to from other bars. On the front, the molding shows the Babaevsky writing and a house.

_AAG3817

The chocolate has a soft break, no clear sound was heard when I broke off some pieces.
And how does it taste? For my taste buds, quite strange. There is an almost overwhelming parfumey flavour; I don’t know if it comes from the tea or from the cocoa beans used (it reminded me slightly of the República del Cacao bar I had my problems with). The feeling of the bar in the mouth was not bad, it has a good melt. But the parfumey flavour lead to me not finishing the bar, I couldn’t get happy with it.

Untitled

This Russian bar was an interesting experience. I assumed that at different places in the worl people have different expectations what a chocolate bar should taste like. This one made me not happy, but I’m curious to try different Russian bars to find out if this parfumey flavour is a common theme or if this is special for this bar.

Zotter – Labooko Panama 72%

Untitled

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.

Untitled
(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.

Untitled

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

_AAG3828

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.

Untitled

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

Untitled

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.

_AAG3551

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.

Untitled

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.

Untitled

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.

_AAG3539

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.

_AAG3540

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.

_AAG3543

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.

_AAG3545

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.

_AAG3546

Merz – Macaé 62% (Valrhona)

Untitled

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).

Untitled

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.

Untitled

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).

Untitled
Untitled

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.)

Untitled

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?)

Untitled

(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)