Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Chocolate Bars You Need To Know About

Chocolate Reviews | 17th May 2011 | By

These days we are blessed with good quality chocolate bars. Thank goodness for that. Here are a few you might not have come across. When you’ve read my review, you may, or may not think they’re worth seeking out.

Montezuma’s Sea Dog

I’d been given a bar of dark chocolate some time ago, Montezuma’s Sea Dog. I loved the colour of the packaging and the idea of the unusual flavour which was lime and sea salt. I kept it safe and sound wondering if I should cook with it or just savour it in its entire choclolatiness. Then I forgot about it.

Montezuma's Sea Dog - dark chocolate with lime and sea salt.

Whilst I was working from home recently, however, I had that “I need chocolate” kinda feeling. I remembered the bar,  had a rummage and found it. Well, no more thoughts of cooking with it, it was destined for immediate consumption.

Montezuma’s have been making organic chocolate for the past 11 years. Started by husband and wife team, Helen and Simon Pattinson they have grown from their first small shop in Brighton to selling their products around the UK and online. I have tried a number of their bars over the years, some I’ve really enjoyed and others not so much.

Sea Dog Chocolate Bar Review

(71%) – Ecuadorian cocoa solids, sugar, vanilla, sea salt, lime oil.

Montezuma's Sea Dog - pieces of dark chocolate.
Even though I’m not an especial lover of dark chocolate, I wolfed the entire 100g bar and enjoyed every square of it. It smelt deliciously of chocolate, but with a faint whiff of lime. It was delicious; smooth, subtly salty with just the right amount of lime. The salt came and went at irregular intervals, which I really liked and the lime was not overpowering. In fact the chocolate left a pleasant salty limey tang in my mouth long after it had disappeared.

Interestingly, this bar contains no lecithin. This is something I’m always being told is essential to make good quality chocolate. My major quibble with this bar, is that it doesn’t appear to be organic. I had assumed that all their chocolate was, but that’s obviously not the case. 9/10

Chocolate Bars from The Chocolate Cafe

Three 100g bars from The Chocolate Cafe arrived in the post the other day and I was most excited. Having ripped open the padded envelope and bubble wrap, the first thing I noticed was the distinctive packaging which, with my penchant for red, really drew my eye. Each bar is wrapped in matt paper the colour of the chocolate it is safeguarding with the chocolate cafe printed in red and the chocolate cafe’s logo – a sploosh (my words not theirs) of what I take to be molten chocolate, also in red.

Chocolate Bars from The Chocolate Cafe

Not having reviewed chocolate before, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. So I thought I would do a taste comparison with equivalent bars that I am more familiar with, in this instance from Green & Blacks. This actually worked really well, except it doubled the quantities of chocolate consumed – oh well, not exactly a hardship! I hasten to add, we did not do all the tasting at one sitting.

As I’m somewhat of an idealist, I would prefer it if these bars were fairly traded and better still organic. However, overall we enjoyed trying these chocolate bars and came to realise just how much variation there is between different high cocoa content bars.

Premium Dark Chocolate

(70% cocoa) cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla.

The first thing I noticed was the fragrant spicy smell that arose when I opened the wrapper – most enticing. These first impressions were reinforced when we tried some, it was smooth and creamy with coffee tones coming through first, followed by almonds. The G&B 70% bar had a sharper smell and tasted more bitter & acidic leaving an aftertaste reminiscent of tobacco.

CT thought it was more like coca cola (this is not good in our book). It was coarse and lacked subtlety, leaving a not particularly pleasant coating inside the mouth and throat. What struck us most about the Chocolate Cafe bar was that unlike most dark chocolate, a couple of squares were not enough. We wanted more, which is not something either of us say very often about dark chocolate. We really liked it. 9/10

Premium Milk Chocolate

(33.6% cocoa) – sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, soya lecithin, natural vanilla.

I was really looking forward to trying this as milk chocolate is my number one favourite when it comes to eating chocolate in bar form. It had a nice firm texture and a fine grain structure and gave a satisfying snap when broken. Comfortingly smooth in the mouth, yet not cloying, it was sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

Flavours? CT detected coconut, but I was getting delicious caramel notes to begin with and then, strangely but pleasantly, peanut butter. What a disappointment the G&B milk was in comparison. It was coarse and acidic with an almost metallic aftertaste; how could I have failed to notice this before? The two reservations I had with this bar were: 1) it was a little too sweet for my taste, 2) I would have preferred a higher cocoa content, although I did enjoy the caramel flavours. But all in all it is a delicious bar and we both very much enjoyed eating it. 8/10

Premium White Chocolate

(28% cocoa) – sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, soya lecithin, natural vanilla.

Having fond childhood memories of white chocolate (of a brand which shall remain nameless), I hoped for a similar experience. It started well, breaking with a good snap and initially felt smooth in the mouth.

Sadly, this was about the best we could say for it as we found it to be a generic white chocolate without any individuality. It tasted foremost of milk powder and the vanilla was hard to detect. We both found it cloying and it left a not altogether pleasant coating around the mouth. The G&B bar by contrast is really great with a powerful vanilla flavour and a good texture which is not in the least bit cloying. 4/10

Chocolate Bars from The East India Company

When the East India Company contacted me recently, I was very excited. What, THE East India Company? Surely not? Not the one I studied in history at school, the one that played such a large part in building the British Empire, bringing tea and spices to the British table and at one time employing 1/3 of the British workforce? Surely, that couldn’t still be going?

Well, lots of question marks, so a bit of digging was required. The answer? Not quite; the original company, founded in 1600 by Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth 1 was dissolved in 1874. Indian entrepreneur Sanjiv Mehta managed to buy the name in 2005 and has recently relaunched the brand by opening his first shop in London’s Mayfair in 2010. The company has an online store too and specialises in fine foods with chocolate featuring as one of the products offered.

Chocolate Bars from The East India Company

The two chocolate bars I was sent to review came in sumptuous and exotic packaging. A reminder of the Raj. The flavours were exotic too.

I really enjoyed these bars, partly because of the historical association but mostly because of the flavours. Subtle they are not, so best avoided by those who prefer a more delicately flavoured bar. They are also quite low in cocoa, only 30% and way too sweet for my taste. Disappointingly, there was no mention of where the chocolate had come from. At £5 a go, these 80g bars are not cheap, but they would make a good present for a lover of spicy chocolate.

The East India Company Chocolate

Cinnamon Leaf

(30%) – sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, cocoa mass, soya lecithin, cinnamon oil, vanilla.

This had an aromatic spicy smell and a nice snap when broken. It was very smooth, but not particularly creamy. CT thought it stayed solid in the mouth for an unusually long time before melting. It had an unusual but delicious flavour – the leaf being quite different to the usual cinnamon bark. The flavour could best be described as a mix of cloves and cinnamon. Overall, this was quite refreshing and the taste lingered on long after the chocolate has disappeared.

Nutmeg

(30%) – sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, cocoa mass, soya lecithin, nutmeg oil, vanilla.

The aroma was again spicy but hard to identify. Biting into it, however, nutmeg surged across our palates. It’s a powerful, but pleasant taste, that persists long on the tongue. One small square has as much nutmeg as the average rice pudding thought CT, but it did combine well with chocolate.

More Chocolate Bars from The Chocolate Cafe

When I heard about the new Strawberry Bar from The Chocolate Cafe, I couldn’t wait to get my mitts on it and more importantly get it into my mouth. I really enjoyed the Chocolate Cafe’s first three own brand bars when I tried them back in March. So I was looking forward to trying their next creations.  Another three bars duly arrived, so not only was I able to try out the strawberry but also their mint and honeycomb too.  I loved the new bold colours of the wrappers and I’m already a fan of their distinctive logo which goes brilliantly with the new colours.

Chocolate Bars from The Chocolate Cafe

These bars are variations of the three originals, the dark, milk and white, but with some very noticable differences.  They all retained the underlying smoothness characteristic of the Chocolate Cafe brand.  All in all, I think these bars are rather good and at £9 for the three, they represent good value for money.  The Chocolate Cafe is a cafe I would very much like to visit and if ever I am in the vicinity of Ramsbottom I most certainly will.  However, they do a very good line in high quality and interesting chocolates that can be bought online, so a visit is not essential.

Premium Dark Chocolate with Mint

(70%) cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Mint Oil, Soya Lecithin, Natural Vanilla

A wonderful scent of dark chocolate and mint wafted up from this bar as soon as I picked it up and it became even stronger when I opened the wrapper.  I had to savour this for a while as I love the smell of mint.  I couldn’t hold out for too long though, so I soon broke off the first piece.  It gave a very satisfying snap and then proceeded to melt gradually on my tongue.  It has a very smooth texture which gives it a sensuous quality.

Not too minty, which was a big plus as far as CT was concerned as he does not likes his mint to be too strong.  The mint was a good foil for the cocoa, cooling and softening its powerful wallop.  Overall it has a harder, drier, stronger flavour and is not as sweet as the other bars, making it ideal for the adult palate. This is not a bar for gorging on, but rather to be savoured in small doses. Indeed, it would make an excellent after dinner mint. 8/10

Premium Milk Chocolate with Honeycomb

(33.6%) – sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, glucose syrup, butterfat, water, polydextrose, salt, soya lecithin, natural vanilla.

As I have now come to expect with the Chocolate Cafe, this chocolate was silky smooth even though it had crunchy bits of honeycomb scattered throughout.  It had a creamy taste and texture although it was rather too sweet for my liking.  It does, however, have a pleasant coconutty flavour which becomes more pronounced over time as does its emollient quality.

Despite not liking my confectionary overly sweet, I do have a penchant for honeycomb and butterscotch in chocolate.  I decided to compare this to the G&B Butterscotch, which is one of my favourite bars.  They were two very different beasts indeed.   The G&B bar was richer, chunkier and not as sweet, but it was also harsher – more bitter with a coarser texture. 7/10

Strawberry Chocolate with a Hint of Black Pepper

(28% cocoa) – sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, freeze dried strawberry  black pepper, soya lecithin, colour E120, natural vanilla.

As soon as I opened the wrapper, I was accosted by a strong strawberry aroma. This was followed by an equally strong fruity hit as soon as I bit into it.  The chocolate iss most definitely pink. And although I’d prefer not to have any added colouring, it was quite fun.  Following on from the strawberry, came the sense of overwhelming sweetness from the sugar, although the sharpness of the fruit does help to counter this a little.  I really liked the hint of pepper, but a hint was all it was, accenting the strawberry flavour rather than overpowering it.

Like its sister, the white chocolate bar, it is slightly cloying and leaves a bit of a coating on the tongue.  Because it’s highly reminiscent of one of my childhood favourites, the strawberry Pink Panther, I had to say I did enjoy this one. I suspect the quality of this version is of a much higher standard though and I’m sure it would be infinitely preferable if only I had one of the old panther bars to compare it to.  However, because it is so sweet, scoffing the whole bar in one sitting would probably be a bit of a challenge.  6/10.

Let Us Know

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try any of the chocolate bars featured here, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

For more chocolate reviews take a look at my chocolate review category. You can also follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

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26 Comments

  1. Chele

    17th May 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I too love the packaging and the flavour combo sounds awesome … not unlike a certain beverage almost ;0)

    Reply
  2. Kath

    17th May 2011 at 7:31 pm

    You ate the whole bar in one sitting? You must have been having a bad work day! It does sound as if it should be eaten in one sitting though.

    Reply
  3. katescakesandbakes

    17th May 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Its a bad day for me if I don’t eat a whole bar in one sitting…

    What a great name for a chocolate though!

    Reply
  4. Nic@Daydreamaboutfood

    17th May 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Love Montezuma chocolate – definitely looking for this one!

    Reply
  5. Jay

    18th May 2011 at 1:04 am

    this is one gorgeous chocolates..the flavor is just amazing.

    Reply
  6. celia

    18th May 2011 at 9:05 am

    You’re not really a lover of dark chocolate, Choc? That’s surprising! That’s an interesting flavour combination in the block, glad to know it worked well!

    Reply
  7. Chocolate Here

    18th May 2011 at 10:24 am

    I loved this bar but you know I just assumed it was organic. Never even checked :-0lo

    Reply
  8. Kath

    18th May 2011 at 10:36 am

    Fair point by Katescakesandbakes now I think about it 😉

    Reply
  9. Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany)

    18th May 2011 at 12:51 pm

    You are so pro when it comes to chocolate..I had no idea to look for lecithin.

    Also, I thought they were organic too. It must be because of the packaging? Either way, it’s good chocolate!

    Reply
  10. giggling wombat

    18th May 2011 at 2:32 pm

    we’ve talked about Salt Dog before and as you know I LOVE it – could be my No 1 Fave after Mayan Gold. Have you tried the Orange and Geranium one?

    Reply
  11. Choclette

    18th May 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Chele – I’ll drink to that 😉

    Kath – surely you know me enough my now to know I like my food and especially my chocolate. Looks as though you may be tempted though 🙂

    KatesCakes – ha ha, thank you, it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one.

    Nic – it’s well worth a search.

    Jay – thanks for stopping by.

    Celia – I’m wedded to dairy, so I like milk chocolate best. But I don’t like sweet chocolate. This means I have a difficult time finding a milk chocolate with a high cocoa content – 50% to 60% is good.

    Gillian – it’s a great flavoured bar. It was only in writing this post that I discovered it wasn’t organic.

    Brittany – I am an inveterate reader of ingredients.

    Giggling Wombat – it is a fab flavour. Yes, I have tried that but wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. Peppermint and vanilla is pretty good though. Many I have still to try – good to have things to look forward to ;-0

    Reply
  12. SewHappy.Me

    18th May 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I shouldn’t have read this blog today. I have just returned to my strict healthy diet regime yesterday and reading this almost made me falter. Luckily, I wouldn’t know where to purchase this chocolate bar. It is new to me. I will have to keep an eye out for it though.It sounds delicious. BTW I didn’t think eating a whole chocolate bar was excessive. Certainly not by my standards! I was also very impressed that you had kept it so long. I don’t have that sort of will power.

    Reply
  13. Baking Addict

    18th May 2011 at 7:37 pm

    One of my favourites from Montezuma. The butterscotch one is the best!

    Reply
  14. Kath

    18th May 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I know I should! But you have to admit 100g of dark choc takes some eating – or is it just me?

    Reply
  15. Phil in the Kitchen

    18th May 2011 at 11:52 pm

    By an odd coincidence I bought a bar of Sea Dog for the first time just a few hours before reading your post. I’ve just tried it and I like it a lot. I’ve often grated other Montezuma flavoured chocolate bars over fruit or ice cream desserts and that may be a good option here too. My wife insists that the Montezuma apple crumble milk chocolate bar is even nicer, but I’m not so sure.

    Reply
  16. Choclette

    19th May 2011 at 5:38 am

    SewHappy – ha ha I am by no means as restrained as I used to be, but I do like to savour the unusual and am a hoarder by nature. Waitrose sell Montezuma’s as well as many independent shops. You can also buy online – not that I’m trying to tempt you or anything 😉

    Baking Addict – amazingly, I haven’t yet tried the butterscotch.

    Kath – normally I can only manage a small amount of dark chocolate at a time – which is probably just as well. But that’s why I was so surprised by this one – I just couldn’t help myself :-S

    Phil – I never think of grating chocolate over ice-cream, sounds just right for a good vanilla. And the apple crumble flavour sounds intriguing – another one I haven’t tried.

    Reply
  17. LF

    19th May 2011 at 1:01 pm

    How intriguing.. trying to imagine how lime chocolate tastes. I do like sea salt and dark choc though..mmm.. it kind of keeps your taste buds alert that every now and then you detect a salty taste. Remind me of when I was a kid and ate milk chocolate and ready salted crisps every other bite, sweet – salty 🙂

    Reply
  18. cityhippyfarmgirl

    20th May 2011 at 3:13 am

    Love the packaging of this… actually and the name. Anything with lime in it would get my vote, I’d love to try this little number.

    Reply
  19. Choclette

    20th May 2011 at 11:50 am

    LF – now the crisp and chocolate thing is a new one on me. I do have a recipe somewhere for chocolate cake made with potatoes though!

    CityHippy – I think you’d like this one. But with your newly (ish) acquired chocolate skills you could try and make your own?

    Reply
  20. oxslip

    22nd May 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Oh I’d like some of that. Off to buy some online now, all your fault…

    Reply
  21. Choclette

    23rd May 2011 at 6:04 am

    Oxslip – it’s fun to have a little of the wicked temptress in my profile.

    Reply
  22. Hazel

    24th May 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I am such a great fan of Montezumas! I think my favourite is the Dark Chocolate, Orange and Geranium (I am just addicted to anything with flower flavours!) but I heard that my brother tried a new bar recently and this is new to me as well. When I get back to England I must check them all out!

    At first I thought lime and salt to be unusual but suddenly remembered my favourite drink – a margarita! I’m so excited to try this chocolate! With a hint of tequila it could easily be margarita chocolate, no? This has just sparked an idea in my head – thank you for that!

    Reply
  23. Choclette

    24th May 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Hazel – the classics are the best (maybe)! If you like margaritas I’m sure you’d like this. Now I’m intrigued to now what new flavour your brother discovered and what did he think of it.

    Reply
  24. JaynesDen

    21st May 2013 at 12:46 pm

    An interesting flavour. The zestiness of the lime should give the chocolate quite a kick !

    Reply
  25. Maya Russell

    13th December 2013 at 7:37 am

    What an interesting flavour. It’s a shame it’s not organic.

    Reply
  26. Beverley

    27th April 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Interesting and different.

    Reply

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