Friday, April 20, 2018

De Villiers: Intense Cocoa 70%

For a time, World Market was the best place for me to find chocolate, what with having a more limited variety of stores available to me than people living in other areas probably have. Lately, though, I had been starting to feel like they had very little. They've been introducing more and more World Market brand items, including chocolates--and I have no interest in those when it comes to chocolate. Their steady chocolate brands are things like Ghirardelli and Lindt and Cadbury, companies of which I have only slim interest nowadays.

World Market has, however, now been seeming to stock more interesting chocolate products--for a limited time. They'll get in a small stock of cool-looking chocolates, so if you don't buy them when you see them, they might not be around next time. So again, I've been buying chocolate at World Market quicker than I can post reviews (unless I post more than one a week, which I usually try not to do because that becomes a bit much, doesn't it?). That means that by the time everyone comes around to read my reviews, World Market probably won't have each of these bars in stock anymore--but perhaps you'll run into them in other places.

The one I'm looking at today is the Intense Cocoa bar from De Villiers Chocolate. Besides the whole non-GMO and sourced from cocoa grown with "respect for people and planet" thing (the cocoa beans in this bar are from Uganda, by the way), I was also interested in the fact that this company is from South Africa. Most of the chocolate I come across is made in the U.S., the U.K, or France (and occasionally other European countries). I've come across a couple from Central or South America, as well. But I think South Africa is something new for me.

Also new is the packaging. Though there is quite a bit of pattern to the illustrations on the wrapper, the black and white color scheme keeps the look plain and subdued, making for a unique look.

Let's not dwell on the look of the surface of the bar too much: it has a little layer of harmless bloom on it, as per usual for chocolate at World Market and honestly for most chocolate that has made its way out here from a distance. The style is simple with nothing complicated in the design; a basic cocoa aroma comes from the surface.

Now, after ten years of reviewing chocolate, I've come up with my own vocabulary. I talk more about colors than about actual flavor notes. I know this; it's just my style. So the first flavor that I pick up from this chocolate is what I call a silvery flavor. Next in is a cocoa powder flavor and a bit of what I call Nesquick flavor, you know, that taste that has the idea of darkness but is in actuality more sweet. The Nesquick flavor here, though, isn't also thick like it tends to be; I like it much more than I usually do. Here it is pleasant and simple (simple seems to be the keyword today). A little bit of redness comes in and develops into more richness just past the halfway point. The finish has a touch of sugar but in a welcome way: the taste is of sugar and chocolate, not overly sweet chocolate, if that makes sense. The mouthfeel throughout is steady and smooth.

I notice also that the ingredients specifically list unrefined sugar. I wonder if that difference in sugar is what makes the difference in how I perceived the sweetness of this chocolate--especially given that I didn't look at the ingredients before tasting it the first time. Whether or not that's the case, this is a solid bar of chocolate. I'm not waxing poetic about how it transported me through time and space, but it tastes nice and it would be a great sort of "beginner's level" dark chocolate for people who tend not to like the very dark chocolates or are less accustomed to them. So De Villiers gets positive marks from me, and I would definitely try more chocolate from them if I ran into the brand again.

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