When Louise went to New Zealand recently, she brought me back not one, not two, but three whole blocks of chocolate. (I realise that the way I say “whole blocks” gives the impression that I was expecting half-eaten blocks, but I assure you that wasn’t the case. After all, I wasn’t expecting any chocolate at all from this wonderful generous woman!)
The first chocolate from Louise that I reviewed was the lovely Bennetts of Mangawhai 70% Dark Chocolate, which somewhat raised the bar for the rest of her package of goodies. The second bar was chosen due to Louise’s and my mutual love of [amusing] language, for who could resist a chocolate bar entitled “Scroggin”?
It’s the third chocolate, however, that is the subject of today’s post.
Donovan Brothers 80% Pure Dark Chocolate
With the tagline of “As Pure As New Zealand”, I couldn’t help feeling some serious trepidation about eating this bar. After all, one of my strongest memories of New Zealand is the stench of Rotorua’s boiling mud, and that’s not exactly the kind of “pure” I like to taste in my chocolate.
Luckily for me, you, and Donovan Brothers, this chocolate’s interpretation of New Zealand purity is more akin to the fabulousness, charm, and sweetness of two blogger friends and the boy who held my hand at my 18th birthday party, all of whom [now] live across the ocean.
Of course, this chocolate’s “pure” status is actually related to its being made simply of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. There’s no vanilla or emulsifier, the absence of which is very rare in chocolate these days.
When I breathed in this 80% dark chocolate’s aroma, I picked up on tanginess and fruitiness, with raspberry, pineapple, sour cream, burnt coffee, and muscovado sugar intermingling. However, we all know that smelling does not a chocolate review make, so I soon broke off a square for tasting.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, the chocolate built up a smoky, pleasantly dusky cocoa flavour, tickled intermittently with hints of butter, hazelnuts, and brazil nuts.
Following through on the aroma’s tanginess came wafts of redcurrant and cranberries, with ever-present-yet-subtle wood, salted butter, and smoke flavours playing at the corners of your consciousness. This is certainly not a sweet chocolate, but at the same time it’s quite withdrawn in character, lacking some of the punchiness that I’d expect from such a high precentage chocolate.
That said, I enjoyed this Donovan Brothers 80% Pure Dark Chocolate for its dusky subtlety, as did those I shared it with (hi boss, Jenni, and dad).
I liked it even more when I put 100g into my Vita-Mix along with 250g of desiccated coconut, turned on the blender and, within three minutes, had at hand a luxurious liquid chocolate coconut butter to give to a charming-and-cherished friend.