Saturday, November 24, 2012

Orange Chocolate Part II

Many moons ago, I did a chocolate orange battle to help remind me what orange flavored chocolates I like best. Since then, I've picked up a few more orange chocolate bars but I've been saving them for a taste off instead of, you know, eating them. But it's time for that to change! I've begun the nibbling. So here's the round up:

Orange Chocolate Taste-Off Contender

Theo Organic Fair Trade Orange Dark Chocolate (70% cacao)
Nice chocolate/cocoa flavor but edging more towards a dry, powdery texture than creamy and rich. I'm willing to blame some that on this chocolate being old because it is only a few months before the "Best By" date. The orange flavor is light and sweet, more tangelo than "true" orange. Quite tasty though I do wish the chocolate felt a little creamier. And the orange flavor a bit stronger. The orange only comes in strong when I take a bite and munch on the chocolate for a while. My preferred way of eating chocolate - sucking on a corner until it melts - results in only mild flavor. Using teeth on chocolate makes me feel wasteful, so I'm a bit disappointed that's the only way the strong orange note comes through. Even with those quibbles, it is nice just not wow-ing. I would eat it again but I think I'd go for the Lindt version instead of this one in the future.

Orange Chocolate Taste-Off Contender

Equal Exchange Oraganic Orange Dark Chocolate (65% cacao)
Technically I'm two weeks past this chocolate's "best by" date. Oops. Must have been one of the ones I got on our vacation last year. So, grain of salt with this review, I suppose.

Yes, this is officially dark chocolate. I can taste the earthy notes (my dad always says it tastes like dirt, but I think it is good dirt) of the cocoa. It has a nice creamy texture when I let it melt a bit in my mouth. There are aspects that make me think it could edge towards powdery but it doesn't get there, so I really just read it as a rather dark chocolate. Chocolate-wise, it tastes pretty similar to the Theo, but creamier. Orange-wise, though, this one tastes a bit stronger. The orange taste comes in mostly on the end and aftertaste but it's nice - reminds me of the whack-and-unwrap chocolate oranges, but with a tiny little bite of zest on the end.

Overall, not knock-my-socks off, but tastier than the Theo and totally worth buying again.

Orange Chocolate Taste-Off Contender

Michel Cluizel Noir Aux Ecorces d'Orange (60% cacao)
This is not orange chocolate. This is a very nice, rich, creamy, dark chocolate with little hard pebbles of slightly chewy (but potentially rock-hard) crumbles of what is supposed to be candied orange peel or something similar. However, those little pebble of orange rocks are not very flavorful and the taste of orange is nowhere else in this chocolate. (The occasional one has a nice chewy texture and a good candied orange flavor, but those yummy little orange bits are outnumber at least three-to-one by the hard and flavorless supposedly orange bits.)

The chocolate itself is delicious and I quite like it, but I would never by this particular bar again (as I value my teeth too much to risk mostly flavorless orange rocks) but I would buy this chocolate in a plain format. However, for the purposes of this comparison, this chocolate is a big fat fail.

Orange Chocolate Taste-Off Contender

Valrhona Manjari Orange (64% cocoa)
I was pretty excited to see this one in the store. Manjari is my all time favorite chocolate so Manjari and orange? Sign me up! I'm not 100% sure the ingredients are safe for me, but hey, if I have a reaction, I'll know.

Overall, I think this is delicious but a bit of overkill. The taste of the Manjari alone is so fruity and tangy and fantastic, that mixing it with the orange flavor is both unnecessary and it kind of ends up almost lost in the wonder that is the chocolate. But there are these lovely little nuggets of super-orange hiding in the chocolate and oh, how I do enjoy happening upon those! That's when the orange flavor really pops above the fruity notes of the chocolate and really comes into it's own. It's like candied orange peel. Delicious, but I think I'll continue to take my Manjari straight.

Orange Chocolate Taste-Off Contender

World Market Blood Orange (42% cocoa)
Okay, this isn't dark chocolate, but it is blood orange. I had to try it.

It's good - the chocolate tastes darker than a measly 42%. The blood orange flavor isn't too strong or overwhelming... it's noticeable but doesn't necessarily scream blood orange. Rather nice, but honestly, it simply reminds me of the plain Manjari. Which is a good thing to be compared to but if it comes down between a flavored chocolate and a plain chocolate that tastes just as fruity but is darker, richer and smoother? Yeah, you can guess which I'll go with.

And that's it! I think between this and my previous post, I've investigated all of the orange chocolates I can find that are safe for me to eat. Huzzah! Overall, I don't think they make my perfect orange chocolate bar (or if they do, it's got ingredients in it that I must avoid). I think the Lindt and Equal Exchange are definitely worth having around regularly and I'll probably go overboard and get some Manjari Orange for those days I want to OD on sweet. Of course, I'll continue to keep an eye out for more delicious orange-ness!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed you chocolate/orange taste-off! The Theo has personal connections...cousin/investors own it.Bet they would welcome you comments!!!! We toured their facility in Seattle last year. Interesting. Ben Affleck is using Theo to process his new chocolate humanitarian project. Theo is built on helping local farmers....