One of the most important things to know about Canberra is that it is small. Very small. I don’t mean geographically, though, for Canberra in fact takes up rather a lot of sprawling space.
Canberra is small in terms of social networks. Despite having a population of 340,000, it is very hard to meet anyone here with whom you aren’t already connected in some way. I like to call this The Six Degrees of Canberra Bacon.
This photo is from 2007, and is the only time in the past (at least) eight years that I’ve had bacon straight-up. I had to add “straight-up” because I have eaten bacon in chocolate during that time…
– I once dated a guy who turned out to have dated one of my best friends (albeit before I knew said friend).
– During my four months of international travelling this year, I met only one person from Canberra. Turns out she is high school chums with another of my Canberran friends.
– One of my students is the brother of a friend of mine.
– My mother does yoga with a neighbour of hers, and that neighbour’s son is one of my friend’s students. Oh, and he’s also friends with another friend of mine’s boyfriend.
– The Lindt 99% chocolate reviewed below? This came from L.LawyerLady, whom I became close friends with several years after she dated my brother for five years.
Of course, this small world thing extends beyond Canberra.
– That really soft noise you just thought you heard? While you’re sitting here, at your computer, reading this post?
That’s me standing behind you in your room, trying not to breathe too loudly so that I can surprise you when you turn around. Right now.
Admit it: you totally just looked.
Lindt 99% Cocoa
So, Hannah, why the long, only vaguely-relevant introduction to this review? Are you trying to put something off?
But this Lindt 99% was awful.
I’ll state the positives first, so that you don’t think I’m being critical for the heck of it. Comprised of naught but cocoa mass, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and demerara sugar, this Lindt 99% chocolate was gorgeously black and glossy, and had a sharp crisp snap. Yep, those are the positives.
As soon as I breathed in its aroma, I started feeling anxious about this chocolate. For me, the aroma was far too sour and red-fruit-fruity to be enticing. (I do like the phrase “red-fruit-fruity”, though.)
When I placed a square in my mouth, sourness invaded my senses. Lindt’s 99% chocolate isn’t bitter, per se, but it has an astringent tanginess akin to straight cocoa powder and almost-off natural yoghurt.
That wasn’t the worst part, unfortunately. I could have respected a strong tangy cocoa fruitiness. I can understand that such a flavour spectrum has merit, and complexity, and (dare I say it) the potential for enjoyment.
However, any nominally satisfactory aspects of this chocolate were negated – nay, pillaged, looted, and set on fire – by the onslaught of saltiness that hit the palate halfway through the eating. I have never experienced such unpleasant saltiness in chocolate before. For we aren’t talking a sprinkling of sea salt as a flavour enhancer here (we all know how much I love that kind of saltiness), we’re talking about a chocolate that lingers on the palate like seawater, iron, and sweat, and which loses all ties to chocolatiness in the process.
This chocolate makes me sad. Partly because it could’ve been great (Pralus’ 100%, for example, is divine), and partly because I have four whole bars of it left. So far, I’ve been melting it through oatmeal and topping the bowl with insane amounts of maple syrup.
However, I’m calling for your help, dear readers. Do you have any advice for how I might render this chocolate palatable? All suggestions gratefully received. I’ll be darned if I let four bars of chocolate go to waste…