Wednesday, 23 June 2010

June 23rd: Zotter Olives with Lemon

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Over the past few months the brand Zotter has featured pretty frequently on this site, with me reviewing numerous offerings from their Hand-Scooped bars range. With varieties ranging from the likes of the 'Honey Trio', to the more bizarre 'Organic Beer', the flavour combinations have proven to be consistently high quality, so when asked if I fancied trying some of the newer bars, I certainly wasn't going to let the opportunity slip by. One of the newest flavours to make its way over from Austria, was this Zotter Olives with Lemon bar, which came described as 'dark chocolate filled with olives and lemons'. Admittedly this did sound like another odd pairing, but given some of my previous experiences I wasn't ruling out Zotter pulling something out the bag.

As per usual this Hand-Scooped bar came in the standard 70.0g format that I shared amongst a few fellow taste testers. You may have noticed in my previous reviews that I haven't always understood the artistic design work that Zotter use on their wrappers. Having done a little research I have discovered that the wrappers are actually designed by a boyhood friend of Mr Zotter, Andreas Gratze (a trained gastronome and later art school graduate). According to Mr Gratze the designs are supposed to be "witty and artistic" - though I can't say I always 'get' the humour, I have to admit they do make each of the bars very classy and unique.

Back to more important matters, the actual chocolate bar looked pretty similar to several others within the Zotter range, though there was a thin but visible layer of cream filling sitting just below the outer shell on the topside of the bar. When it came to the aromas, the scents on offer were noticeably weaker than previous Zotter chocolates I have tried, and I was very surprised that there was no citrus influences detectable. Before tasting the chocolate I took a quick glance at the ingredients list to get a gauge as to what was going to be in store in the taste. Fourth on the list were the words 'olive oil & olives', followed then by 'lemon & lime concentrate', whilst additional things like chilli, honey and hazelnuts were all listed some way down. At the point I was expecting a very unique and variable flavour experience, however what I tasted was really rather placid. The initial part of the taste showed real promise, with the outer 60% dark chocolate establishing a firm flavours base of rich tasting cocoa. As the soft melting chocolate developed into the smoother centre, the taste unfortunately took a turn for the worse, with an odd bitter tasting fruit influence coming to the fore. The mixture of the savoury tasting olives and the sharp, unsweetned citrus juices just didn't taste that pleasant, and given all the added flavour enhancers stated in the ingredients it was surprisingly one dimensional and left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

Overall I guess it is inevitable that with Zotter's willingness to try out of the ordinary flavour combinations there are always going to be a few that aren't the usual high quality. Amongst all of three of us that tried this chocolate, it was unanimously agreed that it simply wasn't very good. I don't know what they were expecting, but I personally was hoping for a sweet lemon curd like filling that was going to nicely play off the richer tasting flavours of the plain dark chocolate. Unfortunately what I experienced with this chocolate was just a bitter tasting fruit hinted centre, that left a pretty unpleasant taste in the mouth. Had it not been for the high quality chocolate that was on offer from the outer proportion of the bar, I think I would have had to have rated this chocolate very low indeed. Normally when I taste chocolates that I don't like as much as I did this one, I usually get rather annoyed at wasting my time reviewing them. This isn't so much the case here though, as I think we can forgive Zotter for getting it wrong on the odd occasion given their willingness to experiment.

6.0 out of 10

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