Thursday, November 14, 2013

Copper Monkey: Milk Chocolate

"I wish there were somewhere to get a salad or something. I'm not hungry yet, but there are just dirty fast food places up ahead."

Words, more or less, spoken by me two months ago on the drive back from California. It's easy to bring lunch on the way over, but harder for the way back. So our attempt to not end up with gross (even for fast food) fast food led us to a little grocery/deli place, where we picked up food to go and a couple of extra items. Chocolate, it goes without saying, was one of those extra items. 

I'm always on the lookout for new chocolate companies, and I had never seen or heard of Copper Monkey Chocolate Factory before. The company is Australian, so whether or not they are still working on a U.S. presence or are just entirely new, I'm not sure. Their snazzy-looking website gives little information. Nor does their card box, which just lists an explanation of Rainforest Alliance certification and the company's use of fine ingredients--without exactly saying much about those ingredients, I might add. But I move ahead of myself. 

Let's return to that card box. While I'm not a fan of advertising products solely on ethical claims (although a company should certainly be able to make those claims), somehow the way that Copper Monkey uses those claims works okay. All of that text on the lower half of the box is explaining what the Rainforest Alliance does (I actually didn't know that it strives to help the people, too; I thought it was just about the environment, although people are certainly part of the environment). But it's in a light brown print that blends into the dark brown background. So you can read it if you want, but it doesn't burst out into your face. The focus is more on the "100% Australian Made." And that's interesting: there aren't a huge amount of Australian chocolate companies, especially ones that make it overseas. The Copper Monkey logo, against an image like a sign, is industrial and raw, while the blue monkey is silly and fun. Those two sides pair well. It's a funny and serious tone at the same time. 

Given that it took me so long to get to this bar and that the Best By date is already next month, I wasn't expecting it to be in top condition when I peeled away the foil wrapper. But the wrapper is a sealed one, like Lindt uses. So besides a couple of little bumps, the bar was still in good condition. No bloom, no melted sections, nothing. A couple of little bubbles in the mold give it a handmade look, and you know I like the small square size. The forty little squares are just the right size for a chocolate bite. They may look small, but the bar is thick enough that it works well.

Especially for a 32% cocoa content milk chocolate, the texture is a little hard. But this may be because it isn't the newest. Even after chewing somewhat, it still melts on the slow side for a milk chocolate; not that I mind. The mouthfeel might be ever so slightly gritty, though not to a bad point. Maybe it's the monkey on the card box, but I keep thinking of bananas when I eat this chocolate. While milk chocolate frequently tastes like vanilla and caramel, I'm getting a more sprightly edge to the caramel here that gives this bar quite a unique flavor. It must be due to the cacao origin (which Copper Monkey has simply ignored supplying); I have had chocolate with banana notes before. Whether or not I'm making up the banana thing, this chocolate does have a nice flavor. For only 32%, it isn't overly sweet and the flavor is fairly layered. 

Along with Theo's Creamy Milk Chocolate (which is 45% cacao), I would feed this to the uninitiated-into-quality-chocolate milk chocolate lover. Now hand me a spoon so that I can eat the rest of this hefty, 200 gram chocolate bar. 

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