This Easter we’re indulging in bean to bar chocolate. A delectable treat made by companies that can trace the cocoa directly back to the producer, using single source beans and ensuring fair trade along the supply chain, Bean to bar ensures quality, creativity, and care. One UK company, Original Beans, was set up specifically to help replenish the rainforests where they operate – DR Congo, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador – and for every bar sold a tree is planted. As an added feature, their packaging is made from biodegradable materials such as wood pulp. Zotter, an Austrian company, sources their cocoa from South America as well as India and Papua New Guinea. Taking a more experimental approach, their filled bar flavour combinations are designed to appeal to both a sweet and savoury tooth. So, to celebrate Easter, we’ve put together some tasting notes on our favourites from these two award-winning chocolate brands.
The milk chocolate is creamy and then some; a not-too-sweet and sophisticated version of this classic favourite. Beni Wild Harvest is a wild dark chocolate from the Bolivian Amazon that grabs your attention with its bold complexity, while the Piura Porcelana is a strong, well-balanced dark chocolate without the bitterness, made from a very rare cocoa plant. The Cru Virunga from the Eastern Congo is our favourite of the Original Beans darks, with bright fruit notes counterbalancing a deep cocoa taste.
The raspberry chocolate is refreshing like freshly picked raspberries carefully combined with white chocolate, capable of converting even those who normally steer clear of fruit-chocolate combinations. The pistachio filled bar is a textural treat with its pleasingly grainy praline centre, while the Scotch Whiskey certainly delivers, with an exceptionally strong scotch and rich dark chocolate filling: not for the faint of heart. Finally the cheese-walnut-grapes is a savoury filled bar combining all the best elements of a cheese platter (without overdoing the cheese), and is much more delicate than the name suggests.
Text by Ananda Pellerin