The 12th til the 18th of October is Chocolate Week. I know - this came as a surprise to me too! As someone who only occasionally picks up a strong and unusual choc bar every so often I thought it was a good excuse to go through a few favourites - and the fair trade people agreed with me and sent us two bundles of joy. Here is the first half!
Fairtrade chocolate now makes up 10% of the UKs chocolate sales, but frankly my own consumption must be much higher. I love both the Divine and Green & Blacks ranges and tend to gravitate towards these due to the abundance in Oxfam shops and similar. It's just so easy to drop a bar in with a new (to me) book as an added treat.
Without realising, I'd never tried the Divine Milk Chocolate bars before. I was surprised by just how sweet this was, much more so than dairy milk, and it was nearer to a white chocolate. Enjoyable, but not really my first pick.
Next up we have the caramel variety of this bar. I liked this more - in fact more than the Cadbury caramels! The sweetness was again in the chocolate more than the filling which suited me and was a very compelling bite. Not quite as hard as the Rolo, and much more generous with the chocolate this was a hit.
Finally in the Divine range we get to the main event. I almost always seem to get bought this one, because it's well known in my family that I love really dark chocolate - after all it's the sugar that is bad for you not the cocoa! This is really one of my favourites, it's dark enough to be devilish, but also not so overpowering that you can only have the one chunk. If I buy my own I do tend to get the darkest one that comes with added bits in for texture, but then with such a wide range I'll always have options.
By contrast the 70% Dark in the Green & Blacks box is a little smoother and creamier, but not by much. A lot of ranges do a really dirty dark bar at 85% which is really the top of the scale, but for a friendly selection box that may be just too much. Still, even this exposes the Bournville bar as a lightweight (although scrummy) and I'd possibly the most luxurious dark bar on the high street. I really can't choose between this and the Divine.
A shade lighter and we have the Dark choc with ginger. I'm not as keen on this as the pure choc, but I will happily buy and eat this as a nice winter option. I prefer chilli heat to ginger heat though so this is a fun diversion but one that others in my office will get to finish.
Of the three milk chocolate bars on offer we have the Butterscotch as the only one I'd not tried before. This is almost like a crunchy in idea, but with butterscotch instead of honeycomb shards. I hadn't expected to like this as much as I did and I had a few repeat visits to the tiny chunks in the pack.
And this would have won the Milk section of the box if it wasn't for the joy that is the sea salt version. I'm not sure what it is about savoury chocolate that drives me wild, but as soon as you put salty things like pretzels or peanuts with the chocolate I suddenly become a whole lot more interested. This was probably the hardest to share out of all the first parcel. I wonder if there is a dark and salty G&B?
After these, the regular milk chocolate is a bit ordinary - but still a nice bar. It's good to have a benchmark to gage the others against and this is it. Enjoyable, but not adventurous enough.
Lastly we have the White chocolate, and this is also a bar I've enjoyed in the past. With its little flecks of vanilla and rich creamy taste it's like the chocolate on the outside of a Magnum ice-cream. I think this stands out so well as its the only white on offer in the box, but I tend to get it with added bits of raspberry if I'm given the pick of the sweet shop.
All in all a lovely selection of chocolates which my office have very much enjoyed helping to sample - and that's only the first half!