When it comes to chocolate we confess, we love it! This is clearly reflected in our sister site and organised events via Discover Cacao. If we can bring more chocolate to the South East of England then we are certainly on that mission. So we are always happy to review new chocolate that happens to land on our desk. And this lovely selection from Pacari has just arrived.
In all honesty I would also like to say that we have tentatively opened each packet and sampled a few, ready to write this review in a calm and collected manner - but that would be a lie. You see, we did open the Dark Chocolate Covered Banana box and promptly ate the lot! So tried again with the Dark Chocolate Covered Golden Berries. And I would like to say that they survived a frenzied feeding. But they did not, and sadly both boxes are quite utterly empty now. Much to the dismay of Sarah, who popped in to the office to join in the tasting and found both her choices completely gone.
I think it is therefore safe to say that both the Banana and the Golden Berries were a first time hit and we would certainly have to recommend you all try some. Just not ours. Because we ate them all.
If you really like your chocolate raw then Pacari have that covered, our next sample box is Cacao Nibs covered in Dark Chocolate. Cacao nibs are not for the faint-hearted and some do find them quite an earthy kick. They are textured and have a good flavour, although it is nothing like smooth milk chocolate, if that is what you prefer. They may well suit people who are looking for something a little less sweet from their chocolate as cacao nibs make a good addition to savoury cooking. Covered in dark chocolate they are just as edible as other chocolate covered choices but not quite as easy to munch the whole box straight off.
A larger bar of Pacari Premium Organic from Tree to Bar with Lemon Verbena managed to escape complete demolition, and this morning (it only arrived yesterday) I have discovered two squares hiding in the bottom of the sleeve. With a minimum of 60% cacao, it is soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, socially responsible pure Ecuadorian Arriba cacao. The lemon is added as an essence and it throws of a hint on mint as I take the first bite, before adjusting to a lemon flavour. I think for me this is because anything fragrant in chocolate always registers personally as mint first before I realise its true intent. It is definitely lemon, definitely good and, alas, now definitely gone!
At our chocolate fairs via Discover Cacao we hear the word bitter on many occasions being attributed to dark chocolate. Some visitors will say they do not like any dark chocolate, having tried a few, so we always encourage them to try again but with the guidance of a chocolatier to help them taste the chocolate in a different way. Our chocolate here is not kept too cold or in a fridge, and the samples (if we can show some restraint) are allowed to melt in the mouth, to gain body temperature and dissolve on to as many taste-buds as we can reach before disappearing.
The Pacari Raw Organic Chocolate 70% is a 2012 Chocolate Award Gold Winner and if the idea of anything over 50% worries you then this really is worth a try. It is as smooth as a milk, with a sweet flavour that leaves no residue on the palate and works a dream. In fact, I think it feels smoother than the Esmeraldas Ecuador 60% we are sampling too, which seems to have a more earthy flavour.
It would be great to see this style of chocolate in more shops to replace what is being offered mainstream, to see more choice of 'real' chocolate rather than the sugar-loaded mass produced styles. Pacari are recognised for creating some of the world's best chocolate, receiving awards internationally for quality and taste.
They work with thousands of families on small organic farms in rural Ecuador, and by doing so, are able to go some way to sustaining the environment. Looking through their range they offer fruit bars, flavoured bars, single origin bars and raw chocolate bars. Going one step further with Tree to Bar chocolate, made in Ecuador, Pacari chocolate offers a blend of aromas, textures and unique chocolate tasting notes. Discover your bar at www.pacarichocolates.uk