December 1st: Lindt Excellence 99% Cocoa

Kcal 270 Fat 25.0g Fat(sats) 15.0g Carbs 4.0g (per 50.0g bar)

According to the Lindt website this bar took three years of development in-order to fine tune the taste. Formulated of 99% cocoa, with less than 1% sugar I presumed this bar would offer a very similar experience to the one offered by the Hotel Chocolat 100% bar I reviewed a few months back. Thanks to Dean-German-Grocery I was allowed to put these presumptions to the test.

I normally really hand it to the Lindt on their Excellence range, and really commend them on their standard of presentation, well this bar took those already sky high standards and raised the bar once more. Although the chocolate only weighed in at 50.0g, the packaging was the same size as the 100.0g bars from the range; this was for reasons two fold. Firstly due to the intensity of the chocolate, the bar was made thinner - this was a course of action I came to appreciate when tasting the bar. Secondly the packaging was larger as the actual bar itself was contained within a neat foil sealed plastic tray (see picture top right!). Not only did this look utterly fantastic and stylish, but it also kept the product wonderfully fresh. This was truly presentation of the highest standards. Inside the foil tray, the chocolate both smelt and looked utterly fantastic. Its dark alluring colour was matched by fantastically aromatic cocoa scents - I literally couldn't wait to sample this chocolate.

As with the Hotel Chocolat 100% my taste buds did need a little time to adapt to the intensity of the flavours. The flavours were raw, powerful and at first undeniably quite bitter, but then the beauty of the bar kicked in. As early as the mid-melt of the first block, the bitter notes seemed to transform into a wonderfully smokey, smooth cocoa taste. Just one small block provided a stunning amount of rich and intensive cocoa flavours that seemed to last forever in the mouth. Much like the Hotel Chocolat 100% bar the texture was not completely to my liking. As my mouth became more accustom to the type of chocolate it got progressively more tolerable, though the initial dry, chalky texture was hardly ideal. To be honest in a trade off though I could certainly put up with the poor texture to be able to savour the high end quality of the taste.

Overall this is a complete an utter Marmite bar, solely dependant on your degree of appreciation (or non-appreciation) of true cocoa flavours. Like the Hotel Chocolat 100%, this bar sits on the opposite end of the spectrum to your grab-n-go Double Decker bar. This is a chocolate that demands time and commitment to really savour its pleasantries. Is it my favourite chocolate ever?? ... no ... is this a wonderfully presented, full flavoured, high standard dark chocolate?? ... YES!!! I know a lot of people will be put off by the 99%, but this bar provides a surprisingly wonderful and friendly experience if you have the palette to appreciate it. Not a bar for everyone, but for those that appreciate the finer chocolate bars I can't recommend this bar enough.

8.6 out of 10