My intention had been to intersperse the Thorntons’ reviews with my backlog of other chocolates, but after two lovely ladies cleverly pre-empted one of my just-eaten Thorntons in the last chocolate review, I decided to instead keep at this UK chocolate company…
Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean
I had never heard of tonka beans before coming across this chocolate, but after a little investigating I can safely say that Thorntons is trying to kill us all.
Or maybe just Americans, as it’s only in the United States that the tonka bean is prohibited by the FDA on account of being lethal in large doses. For the rest of us, the tonka bean is merely a receptacle of vanilla and almond flavours. Who knew nationality affected susceptibility to poison?
Apparently, this tonka chocolate won a silver award from the Academy of Chocolate in 2009. Good for it, I say. (I’d like to win an award from the Academy of Chocolate Eating, if that’s at all possible.) Described as having “delicate flavours reminiscent of almond and vanilla”, I must admit that Thornton’s marketing blurb hit the nail on the head this time.
The aroma reminds me of almond extract, butter caramel, and something a little floral, like jasmine. From the first bite, the flavour is like a magnified well-executed milk chocolate, in the sense that the honey, caramel, and vanilla flavours of a good milk chocolate are all there, but amplified.
The tonka bean’s vanilla and almond flavours, combined with the sweetness and dairy emphasis of the milk chocolate itself, combines to create a taste not unlike toffee almonds mixed with clotted cream. HCarryOn noted that along with strong vanilla notes, this also has a bit of cinnamon spice, and I agree. It’s not quite interesting enough to make me buy it again, but I think it would be wonderful for those who are milk chocolate-inclined to begin with.
Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Lightly Salted Pistachio
So, pistachio and chocolate, we meet again. Snapping at the heels of Vestri’s pistachio chocolate, Thorntons has a lot to live up to. Thorntons opts for halved, rather than whole, pistachios, and surrounds these with plain milk chocolate rather than the white chocolate blended with pistachio paste used by Vestri. However, I will state without qualms that Thorntons’ pistachio chocolate is brilliant and, without a doubt, the best of the Thorntons’ bunch so far.
I don’t know whether its technically correct to describe pistachios as having a umami flavour, but I do feel that they contributed a delicious savouriness to the sweet chocolate that rendered the bar extremely satisfying. The nuts were fresh, crunchy, salty, and buttery, and toned down the sweet milk chocolate without overpowering it. There’s something of marscapone and cream cheese in the chocolate’s aroma, and something of golden syrup in the taste, while the “lightly salted pistachios” remind me a little bit of melted butter on toast. In a good way.
This is one of the few milk chocolates I have tried on my travels that I really want to buy again. Anything that makes me think of pistachio brittle and deliciousness is a winner in my books, and this chocolate, dear readers of mine, made me so think.