March 12th: Artisan du Chocolat Espresso Dark Chocolate

These days I'm (Jim) not always the first one to put my hand up to write the reviews for the site but when we were approached by Artisan du Chocolat about reviewing this bar it was one I insisted on writing. You may recall it wasn't so long ago that I had the delight of trying Artisan's Cafe e Latte chocolate (See HERE). Well after seeing my positive response to that offering our friends over at Artisan HQ enquired whether I wanted to try their Espresso Dark Chocolate!? I responded by saying they needn't have bothered asking :-)

Just as with the Artisan du Chocolat Cafe e Latte this Artisan du Chocolat Espresso Dark Chocolate bar came in a 45.0g size. As you can see the presentation style was also almost identical aside from the darker coloured brown secondary colours and obvious on-pack branding etc. The bar description read that it was made from 'rare Colombian cocoa beans and coffee beans, both from small cooperatives fanatical about the quality of their crops'. It certainly added to my intrigue and only went to heighten my anticipation of giving it a ChocolateMission rating.

I will save you the labour of reading our thoughts on the somewhat boring presentation of the chocolate as time would be better spent telling you just what an amazing taste was experienced. Indeed this was coffee flavoured chocolate at its finest - perhaps even the best I've ever tasted! Why was it so good!? Well this was a chocolate that constructed a very fine, progressive flavour journey that had me loving every single second of it's development. When first placed in the mouth the 70% cocoa chocolate recipe fast established raw, edgy cocoa flavours that had an undercurrent of earthy, sesame like tones. As the chocolate transitioned in state as it began to melt the taste fast developed a strong set of roasted coffee flavours notes that left a real lasting impression in the mouth a long time after consumption. Such was the power of the flavours all chocolate cravings were satisfied after just a few blocks. Unlike the Cafe e Latte bar this was one I managed to savour over the course of a few sittings.

Overall the reason I insisted writing this review was because I wanted to ensure it got the total credibility it deserved. This bar was absolutely terrific! Speaking as someone who had tried hundreds, if not thousands of chocolates in the last 5 years this one I wont soon be forgetting and will no doubt be requesting from Artisan again in the not to distant future. The depth of flavour offered by both the dark chocolate and espresso elements was just outstanding and it generated a non-bitter, highly satisfying and enjoyable taste. Could we already have a contender for chocolate of the year for 2014? I don't know about that but its going to take some beating! Very highly recommended!

9.2 out of 10