Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nibble Chocolate: 85% Cocoa

Ah. Perhaps it is a good thing that I got two bars from Nibble Chocolate instead of just one: if I had chosen just one, it probably would have been this one instead of the other and yet I think that I like the other more than this one. (The other is, of course, their 77% Cocoa--you can read that review here.) You see, I often enjoy chocolate in the 80% range because when it's well done, it provides depth of flavor without too much sweetness. 

But when I tasted this chocolate, I said, oh, that's right, it's cocoa grown in Venezuela--and I think I tend to prefer chocolate grown in other places than Venezuela. Like the 77% bar, this is also Criollo cacao, though the origin can make a big difference in flavor even for cocoa beans of the same variety. The flavor notes on this one are "Coconut, soft fruity, with delicate nuts and coffee notes." (Side note: the 77% used organic cocoa; this one does not, which is a little disappointing. The sugar is still organic, though.)

The first touch of this chocolate's flavor is bitter, deep and dry bitterness, too. Then you get some of the sting and the chocolate begins to melt in what I would find a tad too dusty of a manner. It mellows out a bit around halfway, becoming richer and more tender--and more pleasant. I agree with the soft fruity description; it isn't as zingy or citrusy as other chocolates. The finish is quite nice: as the chocolate melts, it becomes more and more mellow. 

If, of course, you have a second piece, the initial bitterness is much less. It doesn't sting so much and so you can move much more quickly into enjoying the rich chocolate flavor without the distraction of the dry bitterness. It's still quite dark chocolate, though, and not normally the type of 80% range chocolate I like best. There is nothing of sweetness in this chocolate, so just know your chocolate tastes before you choose this one and pick a lower percentage if you know you'll be happier with that choice. 

For myself, I'm a little torn on this chocolate bar. I didn't like it much at first, but it's growing on me. It's definitely better done than some of the other high percentage chocolates I've tried--but not as good as others. Granted, the chocolate bar I tried may have been starting to get old: besides the light bloom that you can see in the picture, the texture was also a little harder than it ought to have been, which may have been more a product of age than of initial quality. So maybe I didn't try it under ideal circumstances. 

Nibble Chocolate has something good going here. They obviously pay attention to the cocoa beans that they're using, making sure that good quality ingredients are leading to a good quality product. A few adjustments, though, would make them even better--smaller square sizes for one (I mean the nine squares that the bar breaks into, not the size of the bar itself). I would try more of their range, although I'd probably not choose this particular bar again; it just isn't quite my style. 

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