Category Archives: chocolates

fleur de sel

GEPA

GEPA is an alternative fair trade organisation based in Wuppertal, Germany. Their chocolates are made without emulsifiers, conched for up to 48 hours, cocoa butter is the only added fat and their wrapping is aluminium free. For their milk chocolate they use organic milk provided by a milk cooperative.

gepa

The bar smells slightly like coffee with milk. It melts nicely and it is sweet, but not overpoweringly so. The salt grains are not evenly distributed, some pieces of chocolate have a burst of salt where you can feel the coarse salt grains, other pieces are just plain milk chocolate. The chocolate itself has a hint of vanilla and a bit of acidity at the end. Although it’s a decent chocolate, it might not make it quite to my top ten list, because it is not salty enough for me. This could be the right milk chocolate for someone who is trying a salted chocolate for the first time and doesn’t want to be overpowered.

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Zutaten: Rohrohrzucker, Vollmilchpulver (25 %), Kakaobutter, Kakaomasse, Pyramidensalz 0,5 % (Fleur de Sel), Vanille-Extrakt, Kakao: 37% mind. [Fair-Handelsanteil der Zutaten insgesamt: 99,5%; aus kontrolliert ökologischem Anbau]

Ingredients: Raw cane sugar, whole milk powder (25%), cocoa butter, cocoa mass, fleur de sel 0,5%, vanilla extract, cocoa min. 37% [fair trade ingredients 99%, organic]

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This bar is available in many grocery stores in Germany as well as online. I bought it in the grocery section of a department store in Berlin. Price approx. €2,30.

Images by Axel Lambrette

cioccolato bianco con pistacchi, nocciole e mandorle salati

venchi

Venchi is an Italian chocolate maker whose history dates back to 1878, when Silviano Venchi opened a chocolate shop in the Piedmont region. In 2000, Venchi merged with master chocolatier Pietro Cussino. Venchi produces over 350 specialty chocolates and are widely known for their gianduja. They use Piedmont hazelnuts, Sicilian pistachios, vegetable fats from olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, cocoa butter, high-quality fresh milk and cream and their products are all gluten-free.

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This is Venchi’s white chocolate with salted pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds , which was awarded the Tavoletta d’Oro by the Compagnia del Cioccolato association in 2012.

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The white chocolate itself is not salted, it is creamy, with a strong vanilla note, which reminds me of a vanilla milkshake. This is also a chocolate bar, which you tend to eat rather than let it melt in your mouth. The nuts are salted, but not overly so. The nuts, salt and sweetness are a perfect combination, I liked this bar very much.

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Ingredients: White chocolate, cocoa 30,6% minimum. (sugar,cocoa butter,whole milk powder, salted almonds 12% (almonds 97%, salt), salted Piedmont hazelnut (Piedmont hazelnut 98,5%, salt), salted pistachio (pistachio 98,5%, salt), whey powder, emulsifier: soy lecithin, natural vanilla flavour). 3,52 oz

Zutaten: weiße Schokolade, Kakao 30,6% mind. (Zucker, Kakaobutter, Vollmilchpulver, Gesalzen Mandeln 12% (Mandeln 97%, Salz), Gesalzen Haselnuss aus dem Piemont (Haselnuss aus dem Piemont 98,5%, Salz), Gesalzen Pistazien (Pistazien 98,5%, Salz), Molkenpulver, Emulgator: Sojalecithin, natürliche Vanille-Aroma.) (sic!) 100g

This bar is available online at Venchi. I bought it from Schoko Galerie, a small shop with a good selection of chocolates in Berlin. Price approx. €4,90.

Images by Axel Lambrette (thank you!!!)

brics de sal

blanxart

Bombons Blanxart is a master chocolatier based in Barcelona, Spain. The company was founded in 1954 and states on their website that they carry out their entire production process, from roasting cocoa beans (Ghana, Congo, Guayaquil and the Dominican Republic) to packaging and distribution.

blanxart

Blanxart’s brics de sal are roasted and salted almonds covered in salted white chocolate – a salt party!

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The first thing you taste is the white chocolate covered in salt. The brics de sal are not made to melt in your mouth but to eat, so I’m not going to talk about the chocolate. Basically you’ll taste salt – white chocolate – salt – almond with added salt flakes – a full blown salt explosion. They are somewhat addictive, as salted nuts sometimes are, but the sweetness of the chocolate keeps you from eating the whole box in one go. For someone looking for a truly salty experience, these are highly recommendable.

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This is available at various online shops. I bought it from the Berliner Kaffeerösterei – a micro-coffee roaster, online store, coffee shop, patisserie – with a good selection of chocolates in Berlin. Price approx. € 3.

Images by Axel Lambrette (thank you!!!)

potato chip bar

chuao chocolatier

A few weeks ago I ordered quite a few chocolates from The Meadow in New York and this bar wasn’t on my “salt” radar – I chose it last minute as substitution for a bar that was out of stock. Now that I’ve looked at chuao chocolatier’s range of chocolate bars, there’s quite a few I would like to try, but short of visiting the US, I don’t think I’ll get a chance soon – they only ship within the 48 contiguous states.

chuao

chuao chocolatier is a Venezuelan chocolatier based in California run by Master Chef Michael Antonorsi and his brother Richard. They operate two chocolate cafes in San Diego and their chocolates can be bought at various retailers. They named the company after the cacao-producing region of Chuao in Venezuela. The create what they call “fusion chocolate” by creating unusual flavours. Their website unfortunately does not explicitly explain where their cocoa is sourced, but maybe one can assume it’s from Venezuela.

This bar did not travel well and arrived in pieces. It’s a milk chocolate with kettle cooked potato chips and a hint of sea salt. When I opened the wrapping there was discernible smell of potato chips and sweet, slightly woodsy chocolate. The melt is tough to assess, the small potato chip pieces are grainy and you quickly want to just eat the chocolate. The chocolate itself leans to a darker side of milk chocolate and would probably not be one of my favourites. But I really like the crunchy aspect of this bar, even though it could use a little bit more salt. I would eat it again – it’s a somewhat guilty pleasure chocolate. And I would still like to try chuao chocolatier’s other salty bars.

Ingredients: Premium milk chocolate (41% cacao, cacao butter, sugar, dehydrated milk, soy lecithin [as an emulsifier], natural vanilla), potatoes, vegetable oil (sunflower, corn and/or canola oil), sea salt.

Zutaten: Premium Milch Schokolade (41% Kakao, Kakaobutter, Zucker, Milchpulver, Soyalecithtin [als Emulgator], Vanille), Kartoffeln, Pflanzenöl (Sonnenblumenöl, Maiskeimöl und/oder Rapsöl), Meersalz.

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As far as I know this bar is not available outside of the US. I bought it online from the meadow in New York. Price approx. $ 5,95.

Images by Axel Lambrette

cardamom organic white chocolate artisan bar

rococo

I know I’m deviating from the salty chocolates with this one, but since I also have a soft spot for white chocolate I had to try it when I bought Rococo’s sea salt bar.

rococo_white

Rococo is a british chocolate company founded by Chantal Coady with shops in London and in Chester. She was awarded Chocolatier Of The Year 2012 and her bars, pralines, caramels and truffles, as well as her packaging, have won awards. Rococo owns a cocoa farm (part of the Grenada Chocolate Company) which provides the organic Trinitario cocoa beans for her chocolates.

This bar won Gold at the International Chocolate Awards 2013.

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The smell of cardamom envelops you when you unwrap the bar. The chocolate melts smoothly in your mouth and you can feel the cardamom grains. It is sweet, but not too sweet, and although cardamom is the main flavour, there is a slight taste of lemon that provides a nice contrast. I was surprised that I liked this chocolate so much and I’m open to trying other spices in chocolate, but I’m yet to see if they can compete with my beloved salted chocolates.

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Ingredients: organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organice whole milk powder, organic cardamom, emulsifier: soya lecithin. Contains 30% min. organic cocoa solids, 24% min. organic milk solids.

Zutaten: Bio Rohrzucker, Bio Kakaobutter, Bio Vollmilchpulver, Bio Kardamom, Emulgator: Sojalecithin. 30% mind. Bio Kakaomasse, 24% mind. Bio Milchpulver.

This bar is available at Rococo and various other online stores. I bought it online from xocoatl, a shop in Wiesbaden. Price approx. €5,90.

Images by Axel Lambrette

milk chocolate with caramel and fleur de sel

bovetti

I actually wanted to start off with the salted chocolate that got me hooked but since I’ve eaten it all I have to wait for new supplies. In addition to finding and trying all salted chocolates I am also open to trying “related” ones, i.e. salted caramel and chocolates with salted nuts.

This bar is produced by Bovetti, an Italian chocolatier (the company is in France), who states on his website that all chocolates are made from top-grade raw materials, pure cocoa butter and without vegetable fat. Concerning fair trade issues, Valter Bovetti, together with some chocolatier friends, created an ethical trade association which sponsors cocoa plantations in São Tomé.bovetti

 

The chocolate which was visible through the window looked fatty and the caramel looked gluey. Not very appetising. Unfortunately this chocolate actually was as disappointing as it looked and reminded me of little more than standard Milka chocolate. It was very sweet and somewhat soulless. I didn’t taste even a hint of salt, but that might be just me, because I prefer a strong salty taste. The caramel pieces were sticky and chewy rather than smooth and buttery. Though this is not a chocolate I would buy again, my two friends who tried the chocolate with me, happily seized the bar and gobbled it up within minutes.

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Ingredients:  minimum 38% cocoa (cocoa solids and cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar, vanilla), caramel aroma 7% (sugar, glucose syrup, milk powder, butter, salt, caramel colouring).

Zutaten: Kakao 38% mind. (Kakaomasse und Kakaobutter, Milchpulver, Zucker, natürliche Vanille) natürliches Karamellaroma 7%, (Zucker, Glukose, Milchpulver, Butter, Saltz, aroma, Farbstoff Karamell) (sic!)bovetti_3

This bar is available at various online shops. I bought it from Schoko Galerie, a small shop with a good selection of chocolates in Berlin. Price approx. €4,50.

Images by Axel Lambrette (thank you!!!)

food photography

First things first: my own photos might be quite crappy. I’m afraid I lack the patience to fully understand my camera and to fiddle with lighting. But as luck will have it a friend has offered – in exchange for baked goods and chocolates – to take pictures from time to time.