I owe Western Australia an apology.
When my mother came back from a work trip to WA and delivered unto me a brown box with “Fremantle Chocolate dark chocolate: gourmet chocolates hand-made in Australia” written in multiple fonts on the cover and a sticker at the bottom proclaiming “The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania 2010 Fine Food Awards Silver Medal”, I wasn’t expecting much.
You see, when I think of Western Australia, I think of:
- A stop-over at 1am at Perth airport on the way to Mauritius, wherein I spent an ungodly amount of money on kangaroo jerky and subsequently felt sick all the next day. Note To Everyone: 1am Jerky Is Not Your Friend.
- How you aren’t allowed to pat the dolphins at Monkey Mia anymore. This broke my ten-year-old heart (back when I was ten years old, that is. It’s not like I have multiple hearts. I’m not Doctor Who).
- Conor. (This is a good thought.)
- This Carmel Valley Dark Chocolate with Coffee Beans, which is possibly the most insipid and disheartening chocolate I’ve ever eaten.
You thereby understand why my food-chocolate-general thoughts of Western Australia led me to have not very high expectations of Fremantle Chocolate’s [only] 58% cacao content dark chocolate, right?
Well, you shouldn’t understand. Because I was being stupid.
Fremantle Chocolate 58% Dark Chocolate Bar
Photo courtesy of Fremantle Chocolate, because my own photo was Le Horrendous.
Upon unwrapping this chocolate, I was happy to see glossiness and a dark-red-brown colour peering back at me (if your chocolate doesn’t peer, you aren’t eating it right). The aroma was pleasant, though didn’t change my non-high expectations as the dominant scents were simple and sweet: toffee, caramel, and a bit of lychee.
Then I took a nibble. A bite. A chomp. And lo! Just like my mother delivered unto me this bar, the bar in turn delivered unto me deliciousness. My tasting notes quickly became an incoherent and typo-ridden list of flavour progressions, exclamation marks, capitals, the word “oooh”, and other such literary manifestations of my happy surprise.
Here’s a just a snippet of the flavours I noted whilst letting this sweet-yet-richly-chocolate-y creation melt on my tongue: hazelnut, toffee, brazil nut, honeycomb, muscovado sugar, whispers of smokiness, almonds, dark cocoa powder and brownies, smooth and full and rich cream, chocolatey chocolate.
Believe you me, I’m still surprised. At only 58%, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is a sweet dark chocolate. However, it’s also very, very chocolatey. There is no vanilla in the mix, and it isn’t missed. In fact, the absence of vanilla might have something to do with the fullness of the cocoa tones. Somehow, Fremantle has coaxed out unexpected layers of flavour from a 58% cacao content while also creating a really-quite-sweet chocolate blend capable of appealing to dark-chocolate haters (you know, people who like to kick puppies in the face*).
This Fremantle Dark Chocolate has wonderful length, with the rich chocolatey-nutty-muscovado flavours lingering on the palate long after the last skerrick of chocolate itself has melted away. There are no hints of bitterness or acridity, and the texture is very smooth. These are all good things.
While I’m still more likely to reach for darker and punchier chocolate on a daily basis (don’t you ever try to get between me and my 80%+ range), I must admit that I’m sad I don’t have Fremantle Chocolate on hand for those slightly-sweeter chocolate cravings. Plus, the website indicates a variety of chocolate bar flavours that I’d like to get my hands on.
Well done, Western Australia. You’ve given me something new to smile [at you] about. Now, Mum, when are you heading back over there for work…?
* I jest, dear readers of mine. You know I love you all, even those who buy Cadbury at your own free will.