Posts Tagged ‘nibs’

Theo’s 3400 Phinney range has fared rather well on this blog. The Hazelnut Crunch and Coconut Curry bars are up there* with my favourite milk chocolates of all time, I absolutely adored the vegan Fig, Fennel and Almond dark chocolate, and Theo’s gorgeous packaging designs make me smile and say “Aw!” every time I look at them.

I figured it was about time I chatted about another of Theo’s dark chocolates. Sadly, this one ain’t vegan, for those of you of a mind to know such things. You see, thar’s butter in that thar sweetie, me hearties**!

Theo Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate

Theo Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate

The more I look at the lady on this packaging, the more I’m inclined to think she’s a bit of a tramp. Look at that cleavage! And that sideways glance! You can almost see, in her eyes and bowl of rocks, her devious plan to steal that Llama from its Llama girlfriend. Hmm. And now I can’t stop thinking about how if you say “nib brittle” really fast, it starts to sound like a part of human anatomy.

Wait, isn’t this meant to be a chocolate review? Someone tell me to get my mind out of the gutter. Surely it doesn’t matter that the female mascot is an illicit llama-lover, if the chocolate itself tastes good?

Theo Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate

This chocolate is comprised of cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa nibs, butter, corn syrup, water, salt, and ground vanilla bean. The majority of these ingredients are organic and almost all are fair-trade, which means you can indulge with a clear conscious (so long as you don’t mind a bit of llama-lovin’). (Hannah, seriously. Stop it.)

The aroma of this chocolate is pleasantly chocolatey with red fruit notes, although it isn’t as intense as, say, Valrhona or Amadei. Aesthetically-speaking, the bar is a lovely dark black-brown with a plethora of caramelised nibs peeking out at all times.

When I took my first bite, the first thing I noticed was the incredible crispiness of the nibs, which comes from their crackly, sugary, salt-and-vanilla-flecked caramelised coating. The flavour of the brittle often seems more caramel-sugar than earthy, assertive nibs, but there are certainly moments when the nibs’ woodsy coffee notes push through.

Theo Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate

At first this chocolate bar seems rather tentative in flavour, yet if you give it a moment to gather its confidence, you’ll be rewarded with a taste that draws hot fudge sauce, molasses, honey, red plums, earthy cocoa and caramel into a cohesive and delicious whole.

Oh, and sometimes this Nib Brittle chocolate tastes like a piece of toast that’s been topped with butter and sugar and caramelised under the grill. Which, I have to say, is a far pleasanter mental image to hold onto than that of a female floozy eloping with a llama.

* Where is up there? Saying something is “up there” (in order to proclaim its amazingness) is rather a strange turn of phrase, don’t you think? Or perhaps I am simply confuddled from marking essays. I wish I could talk about that on this blog, but I can’t, even though I’m marking for another university. Strangled noise.

** In case you can’t tell, I do an awesome pirate.


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Louise, you asked for it. You said that you wanted to hear about the bad chocolates, and who am I to deny such a request?

Without further ado, I present to you the singularly most unpleasant chocolate experienced during my four months of travelling.

Jacques Chocolat Fondant Extra Fin Fourré Crème Confiseur Goût Pistache

Jacques Pistache chocolate

Should not have been seduced by the pistachio label.

I should have guessed how horrible this chocolate was going to be upon reading the English translation of its name: “Extra Fine Plain Chocolate with a Pistachio Taste Filling”. Pistachio Taste Filling? Shoot me now.

This is likely to be one of my shortest chocolate reviews ever, because I do not have a single positive thing to say. Despite ostensibly being made from the “Finest Quality Callebaut”, this chocolate had no distinct cocoa flavours nor was it able to distract from the horrendousness of the… *sigh*… Pistachio Taste Filling.

Jacques Pistache Chocolate

It doesn't *look* that horrid, but looks can be deceiving.

Although “fondant” in the French above refers to the chocolate’s dark and “plain” nature, “fondant” in the English-language sense of “hard sugar icing” is the only apt description for Jacques’ filling. The pale green inside of this bar was almost rock-solid, and tasted of nothing but sugar squared. Sugar multiplied by itself a hundred times over, even, and compressed into a solid log that seemed determined never to dissolve in the mouth. I almost gagged.

And yet, I ate two-thirds of this 200g bar before giving up. Somehow, I couldn’t believe it was really as horrible, sickly sweet, hard to eat, and unsatisfying as it was.

Louise and anyone else interested in awful chocolate products? This was horrible, sickly sweet, hard to eat, and unsatisfying. Consider yourselves warned.

Nestlé Éclat Noir Fèves de Cacao

Nestle Eclat Noir Feves de Cacao

Yes, this chocolate is resting on a Charlaine Harris/Sookie Stackhouse book, which is in turn resting on my lap, a lap which at the time was resting on a tiny booth in a tiny cabin on a train from Paris to Firenze. It’s like the human-book-chocolate version of a Babushka doll.

Thank the stars for the existence of rich chocolatey intensity. Sure, this chocolate is made by Nestlé, that evil third-world baby-killer company mentioned in my Honours thesis, but at least it only made my conscience and not my physical self gag.

The chocolate had a 64% cacao content but was admirably rich and dark in flavour, with hints of the roasted and woodsy flavours I love. The cacao nibs contributed not only coffee notes bar but, in being caramelised, lent a lovely toffee essence as well.

Nestle Eclat Noir Feves de Cacao

Waves, or maybe sand dunes, of chocolate?

That’s about it, folks. Not the greatest nibby chocolate I’ve had, but so tremendously better than the Jacques and its Travesty Taste Filling that I’m probably being kinder than I normally would.

You lucked out, Nestlé. I may not be so lenient next time.

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