Saturday, April 25, 2015

Celebrate New Zealand with Chocolate!

Ever since we got a few samples from Wellington Chocolate Factory in New Zealand I've been on the look out for a good date to do our first feature about them.  Today just happens to be an important public holiday for them, Anzac Day. What is Anzac Day? Here is a description from a government website: Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. (1) ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day. (2) Since we have readers in both Australia and New Zealand, I want to honor them today by introducing the world to four bars from the Wellington Chocolate Factory that came in this Tasting Pack.

We'll start with the Coconut Milk Chocolate Bar tested by our own Fruit Acolyte. The label on the full sized bar is a bit eerie with a huge eye looking out of a cacao tree but on the tasting pack bar most of this is covered by the general black label. What did our tester think of the bar? She did not like it at all. She said she took one bite, it tasted very sour, and she spit it right back out. Now this particular assistant of mine is a very adventuresome eater -- she tries everything and is really into cooking from scratch. However if she doesn't like something, she does not hold back her punches. We don't know if this bar was supposed to taste sour or if something happened to it in the travel between here and New Zealand but as you'll see, her experience with this bar does not come close to our experiences with the other varieties.

Next let's look at the three 70% dark chocolate bars starting with the Dominican Republic Bar with a wrapper showing a statue on a peach-orange background under the black central label of the tasting pack. The very thing I noticed when I was photographing these was that this bar is darker in color than the two below even though they are all 70%. This must reflect the beans which will also be the big factor in any flavor difference between these three bars. This has a stronger earthy cocoa fragrance with some sweet fruitiness that is citrus in nature. The first bite makes only a soft sound but my mouth is flood with an intense marmalade like flavor and surprisingly smooth chocolate that gets a bit more bitter with each chew.  With just one little section the cocoa buzz starts and my eyes widen to let in more light. Letting the second piece melt in my mouth allows the chocolate and the sweetness to blend more from the start but the bitter edge still grows as it slowly melts. At first it seems like the bitterness is taking over but then the sweet marmalade flavor comes back and the two flavors trade back and forth making this a very engaging experience for my mouth. I really loved this both ways that I tested it.

The Peru Norandino Bar has colorfully dressed girl hold and standing next to alpacas beneath the black tasting pack label. This has a nutty and cocoa scent to it when I bring a third of the bar to my nose; there is a hint of something sweet as well. It makes a soft sound when I take a bite and immediately I get a creamy cocoa with a hint of sweet that turns very fruity and bitter within moments before fading back into the sweet cocoa flavor again. Letting a bite melt in my mouth reveals an apricot sweetness, less bitterness, and a creamy chocolate. Over the minute it takes to melt, the apricot flavor intensifies the most until it is almost all that I can taste. I recommend chewing this rather than letting it melt in your mouth if you want the chocolate to be the stronger flavor.

Finally the Madagascar Somia Plantation Bar has a maroon wrapper a pink drawing of a cacao tree a critter that looks like a lemur under the black tasting pack label. The cocoa scent is very light with a strong plum-like fragrance when I take a whiff of it.  For some reason this bar makes a louder snap when I take a bite and is harder to break into pieces. The initial flavor is a dark but not bitter chocolate with a sweet edge that turns into a berry-like flavors before the chocolate returns with a more bitter edge that delivers a cocoa buzz. The next piece melts very slowly in my mouth, slower than the other two 70% bars have. The dark cocoa is smooth and not bitter at all and then very slowly and very slightly that berry sweetness starts to appear on my tongue. Working it with my tongue releases more of the fruity flavors.  Again I enjoy both ways of eating this bar so I think you should decide if you want more or less berry flavors when you try it.

There you have it, Sisters and Brothers, four simple creations from Wellington Chocolate Factory. For our readers commemorating Anzac Day, we honor your sacrifices and loyalty. For every reader here, try at least three of these four bars and you will not be disappointed.

Notes on Research for this post:

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