I've got my mum and dad trained well. It used to be, whenever they went away they'd come back with a souvenir for me - fridge magnets, little decorative statues, a nice handbag or perfume from duty free. They've finally learnt though, the only way to buy my love is through good old chocolate.
Just before Christmas they went to Prague and while the Czech Republic isn't really known worldwide for its chocolate, I had heard some good things.
This holiday's little treat comes from Choco Café (www.choco-cafe.cz), a place where - you guessed it - the menu revolves around chocolate. Take a look at the menu on their website, I especially would like to try the home made Chocolate Blob!! I've seen photographs of the breakfast, chocolate croissants, chocolate cakes and the most indulgent looking hot chocolate - my mum in particular recommends it to anyone travelling to Prague.
They very kindly grabbed me a 72% dark chocolate with cinnamon and thankfully there is an English description: exclusive cocoa beans from central South America and Madagascar . Great character, intense taste, smooth slight acidity with fruit and spice bouquet. Home made chocolate bar.
Theres a basic ingredients list-
Gluten free, made only with cocoa butter.
Cocoa: Min 72%
Sugar: Max 27%
Cocoa Butter: Min 44%
Emulsifier: Soy Lecithin
Aroma: Natural vanilla
Nut/Fruit Content (according to flavour): Min 20%
Spices: Min 1%
I really like that there's no set recipe - it all depends on who is making your chocolate and how they're feeling at the time to how much you get of each.
The chocolate is quite charming in a funny way. Its in a plastic (non-sealed, no machinery here) envelope inside, which is then wrapped in foil and a paper label. All neatly tied together with a piece of straw. Its sweet and old fashioned and a real novelty in times of mass produced crap! I felt like a fraud and a pretender opening it up after clearing the reduced Christmas shelves in Tesco..
The scent was undeniably dark chocolate, that familiar smell I absolutely love. The chocolate had a strange feel to it, velvety smooth to the point of almost being like a plastic bar - I was a little concerned but as long as it didn't taste like plastic, I'd be happy!
I broke a square off and my fears were put to rest. A deep, dark, rich chocolate flavour that wasn't quite bitter but was not sweet at all. While the outside felt smooth to the touch, it had an almost gritty texture in my mouth, it was smooth enough to melt but had a very pleasing bite and chew to it too.
I know I demand uniform and even flavouring in bars from big brands but I'd be a fool to expect it in a home made bar. That said, the first square I tried was the only without any cinnamon flavour. It was delicious, and the best way to describe it is the taste of Christmas. It isn't a very strong cinnamon which I think is a positive as both cinnamon and dark chocolate are strong, distinctive flavours. The chocolate is such a lovely quality it would be a shame to drown it out with a strong cinnamon taste. Its enough though and noticeable throughout but I do think that even non-cinnamon lovers would manage to enjoy this, rather than it being a completely separate taste it just seems to add another layer to the flavour.
I was surprised to find it was a sweeter cinnamon though, instead of the warm almost spicy flavours it provided some needed (depending on who you ask!) sweetness, it doesn't taste like sugar though like in most chocolate bars and I doubt I'd have noticed the sweeter squares had the first one not been exclusively chocolate.
One downside to mum and dad bringing me home foreign goodies is that when I find one as tasty as this, its near enough impossible to get anymore!
They're off to Mexico next - I've never tried Mexican chocolate.....
The first world food Wednesday of 2016 is a solid