I am forever receiving e-mails from my UK based readers to review more Marks & Spencer chocolate, so today I have truly obliged and have delved into their organic and fairtrade chocolate range. As you can probably guess by the name, I sampled the 72% dark chocolate - a bar that was formed of four simple ingredients: cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla. I had already tried some fantastic dark chocolate recipes of this strength (Lindt, Hotel Chocolat etc), so this bar had a lot to live up to.
The bar came in a 100.0g form that was split into 16 nicely sized blocks. Aesthetically I liked the outer wrapping, the black background with gold writing looked classy, however what I wasn't all that keen on was the information it communicated. Now I am all for organic and fairtrade produce, but was there really a need to mention that this bar met both these standards fifteen times?! Overkill don't you think!! The chocolate wasn't the most inspiring looking, though it was kept relatively fresh inside a cellophane wrapping. I wasn't all the bowled over by the smell, a cocoa scent did emerge once the wrapping was opened, but it was hardly the most imposing aroma ever.
I was really astounded by the taste when I put the first block in my mouth. This is going to sound odd but it had absolutely no taste whatsoever. It wasn't until the melt of the chocolate started that the chocolate started to release its flavours - it felt odd to say the least. The melt itself was smooth, but quite fast in its later stages. This was by no means a really strong tasting dark chocolate, I actually found it to be particularly sweet and subdued for such a high cocoa concentrated bar. Even when the melt was in full flow the cocoa flavours just didn't seem to have any character, it just lacked any sort of speciality in its taste. The lack of strength in its flavours and very fast melt meant that this bar didn't have a very long aftertaste. Although not the richest of dark chocolates, 50.0g provided a fair snack.
Overall this wasn't a necessarily bad tasting chocolate, but it just wasn't a necessarily great tasting one either. For a 72% recipe I was expecting a far fuller flavoured chocolate than what was delivered. The overall taste just didn't have anything that excited me, or made me really take notice of its flavours. All in all, I personally just thought this chocolate was just really average ... 'run of the mill' some might say. I am all for supporting fairtrade produce, but I personally wouldn't recommend this bar on its taste alone - there are far better dark chocolate alternatives out there.
7.1 out of 10