I am a tired munchkin tonight. I’m not a great sleeper at the best of times, and I think the combination of uncooperative bedding in my Florence hotel (I like to wrap my sheets around myself just-so, and these are too stiff to tuck in properly) and anxiety about going home this weekend are to blame for my recent tossing-and-turning. So I apologise in advance if my sentence structure proves problematic or my description of delectables becomes borderline boring.
At least I’ve still got the alliteration down pat, right?
Monoprix Gourmet Chocolat Noir Pépites aux Cerises, Sésame et Éclats de Caramel
I was powerless before this chocolate when I spotted it in my local Paris Monoprix. Dark chocolate, cherry pieces, sesame seeds, and caramel bits? How could it possibly work? How could it possibly not? I had to find out what this would taste like, and so into Le Shopping Basket it slipped.
Upon translating the ingredients (I’m fairly adept at reading French, just hopeless when it comes to understanding it spoken. Useful, no?) I discovered that the cherry pieces comprised 10% of the bar, but were themselves made of sugar, 3% cherry pulp, apple, pineapple fibres, flavours, and lots of E-numbers. The sesame seeds and caramel pieces were each classed at 2%, and the chocolate itself had a 51% cacao content.
But that’s enough numbers for now.
Not surprisingly, this chocolate had a very sweet smell. Surprisingly, though, this smell reminded me overwhelmingly of Savannah’s River Street candy stores and the aroma of fresh pralines and toffee apples. Not a bad olfactory reminiscence, to be sure.
My first bite? SWEET SWEET OH HEAVENS SWEEEEEET.
Next thoughts? Some fruitiness, bits of crunch, SWEET SWEET OH HEAVENS SWEEEEEET… but something is slightly off?
(Anyone remember the song from Madeleine that the head Nun sings at some point whilst swooping down the stairs? “Something is not right! Something is quite wrong!” … Or did I make that up? I have no memory of any other part of Madeleine, so this memory may, in fact, be from a crazy dream. You know, from the times when I do sleep.)
The more I ate of this, the stronger I felt that there was some subtle flavour, underlying the sweetness and the fruitiness and the occasional hints of nuttiness, that didn’t work. In my tasting notes, I wondered whether it was like Turkish Delight (I’m not a fan of rosewater) and then, more worryingly, I actually wrote down “cumin?! weird!” Amen, me. Cumin? That is weird.
So while I applaud the novelty of this flavour combination, particularly as Camille has often hinted at France’s suspicion of the new when it comes to chocolate, I have to admit this didn’t quite fly for me. I don’t know if I got a bad bar with rancid sesame seeds, or if the combination of pineapple fibres and caramel created some sort of chemical explosion to which I alone am susceptible… but I had no desire to get this again.