I really don’t know what I’ve done to be spoilt so rotten by the lovely Peter from Sweets Without but once again I arrived home after a crappy day at work to a parcel from the man himself. This time it was full of chocolate, and not just any chocolate – Zotter.
Zotter have a great reputation, they’re the only company in the whole of Europe who produce organic and fairtrade bean to bar chocolate. They’re known for both quality and some of their wackier flavours.
The bars usually come in beautiful packaging but I’ve been lucky enough to be sent a few samples so gold wrappers will have to do!
All the actual bars are beautifully decorated and stamped with the name of the line (Labooko) and delicate little patterns swirled about.
I kicked things off with the 100% Peru
Brace yourselves while I list the ingredients: 100% cocoa. Yep, that’s it! No filler, no sugar, no milk, no anything but pure cocoa from the Peruvian rainforest. There’s a lot of chocolate connoisseur chat regarding the fact the cocoa is roasted very slowly at low temperatures then conched for 34 hours but honestly? It’s in one ear and out the other with me, I don’t understand any of it! All you and I need to know is it’s rated very highly and won silver at the Acadamy of Chocolate Awards and The International Chocolate Test awarded it 91.90 points – top marks apparently.
It was nowhere near as dark as I expected it to look and didn’t smell as I’d expected a 100% bar to, with a lighter scent. It tasted a lot darker though with a super, super intense flavour. It’s almost creamy feeling as it has such a thick mouth feel and it was probably the strongest cocoa flavoured thing I’ve ever eaten.
Every mouthful is different, no two were the same but overall it had an incredibly deep flavour that lightened towards the end and was really natural tasting.
I’m not sure if I truly enjoyed it or not, it is the most intense and complicated bar of chocolate I’ve eaten, let alone one with just one ingredient! But it’s so worth trying – just for the experience. I’ve never eaten anything like it
The next bar was the 100% Ecuadorian.
Again with just one ingredient, cocoa, this time coming from the rare Arriba cocoa bean, grown only in Ecuador. This time the beans are briefly roasted at a high heat then conched for 36 hours but once again I’m clueless. All I knew was I was a little nervous after the Peru bar and I had to leave it 24 hours between.. I’ve never O.D’d on cocoa before!!
The bar felt like velvet in my hands, I don’t think I’ve ever held or seen such a smooth bar of chocolate and again it didn’t look quite as dark as you’d expect pure cocoa to. This felt possibly even thicker in the mouth yet less creamy, it’s an odd texture but one that grew on me.
To begin with it has an even stronger hit of pure chocolate. Yes even stronger than the Peru bar but it’s short lived. I said I’m not a chocolate connoisseur and you’re much more likely to find me shoving Cadbury buttons down my throat than sniffing chocolate and talking about delicate notes and all that mumbo jumbo, but my God this had some seriously complex flavours going on! I don’t understand how but it has a fruity flavour and is almost sweet, it doesn’t make sense to me but that’s what I could taste!
Because of this the Ecuador bar was a lot more manageable than the Peru. I happily ate the full sized bar and could easily have eaten another. I really, really liked it (although confession time, it feels far too fancy for a chav like me!)
This though is what proper chocolate is supposed to taste like! Delicious.
Lastly was a milk chocolate 70% dark style with no added sugar.
This bar was a lot lighter looking than the previous two and the decorations actually showed up when I photographed this one!
It smelt a lot lighter too but still had the silky smooth finish as it’s 100% predecessors. The velvety chocolate had the same ultra thick feel in the mouth though, it really threw me as I didn’t expect such a thin slick feeling chocolate in my hand to have such a full mouth feel.
I suppose the fact it’s named milk chocolate affected my expectations. In reality it’s much more dark – it contains 70% chocolate but it does include powdered milk as well as vanilla. It has no added sugar though and the only form of sugar comes from the lactose in the milk powder.
Because of this high percentage of cocoa butter, it still has a real deep flavour. It’s white chocolate compared to those two but there’s no mistaking it for a milk that’s for sure. It isn’t sweet at all but doesn’t have a bitterness at all. It’s a very nice dark chocolate actually with a lighter milky edge. I love the fact that they haven’t messed about with sweeteners, the milk lightens, sweetens and balances the dark flavours perfectly and there’s no need for artificial crap.
It just shows why Zotter do so well – they certainly know what they’re talking about!
I enjoyed all three bars and would recommend any but my favourite by a mile is the 100% Ecuadorian. Never in a million years did I think I’d favour a 100% over a 70!
Thanks very much Peter! Everyone get over to sweetswithout.co.uk for loads of tasty sugar free and no added sugar sweets, chocolates and goodies!