Certified by the Soil Association, bearing the Fairtrade symbol and an Ethical Award winner, Seed and Bean is an organic company to be admired. Read on to see my review of some of their delicious and unusually flavoured chocolate bars.
Fairtrade Fortnight is coming to an end, but you still have a chance to “choose products that save lives”. Take a look at last week’s post to find out more on why buying fairtrade chocolate helps growers in poorer parts of the world. It’s worth having a look for the chocolate cashew pie recipe alone.
Seed and Bean Review
Seed and Bean is a company founded on ethical principles and all of its products are not only Fairtrade and organic, but taste good too. I’m a fan. The 18 flavours offered are interesting and the packaging is attractive. They capture my attention every time. You can find out more about their chocolate bars in this previous review, a rainbow of delight. This post is an amalgamation of three other posts where I’ve reviewed Seed and Bean organic chocolate bars, so you’ll find plenty to choose from.
Seed and Bean Chocolate Bars
This time I was sent a bar of their award winning Sicilian Hazelnut & Almond (37%) which is pure delight. It’s a milky gianduja, which is smooth, creamy and not too sweet. It has an aroma of roasted hazelnuts and a taste of Italian sophistication. I meant to try just a little bit and before I knew it the whole bar had disappeared – how did that happen?
The dark (58%) Lemon and Cardamom is also a new one on me and I’m quite enthralled by it. Like all of the Seed and Bean chocolate I’ve tried, the flavours are subtle, but they are most definitely present. Lemon and cardamom are closely aligned in flavour, yet they complement each other well. I used this chocolate to top my lemon coconut cakes.
I was intrigued to find out what the Tangerine milk chocolate bar (37%) was like as I thought it would be hard to differentiate the flavour from that of orange. The scent of citrus was there and extraordinarly it really did taste of tangerines, not oranges. It is, in fact, quite a delicious bar.
The fourth one in the pack is another milk chocolate one, Cornish Sea Salt & Lime (37%). This is a firm favourite of mine which I have reviewed before (see below). Since writing that review, Seed and Bean have, much to my delight, upped the cocoa content of their chocolate. I’m hoping they will up it again at some point as a higher cocoa content makes for a richer and less sweet chocolate. In my world, all milk chocolate would have a minimum of 40%.
Seed and Bean also sent me an additional bar of dark Espresso (58%). But please note, this is NOT part of the giveaway. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking CT will be much enamoured.
Seed and Bean New Editions
Not only is Seed and Bean an ethical company, but it has won two great taste awards from the Academy of Chocolate. It has an interesting and unusual flavour range including coconut & raspberry, lemon & cardamom, pumpkin seeds & hemp oil and Cornish sea salt. Recently they brought out a range of new flavours and a while ago they sent me two of their new bars to review. The chocolate they use for the majority of bars is a good quality Trinitario from the Dominican Republic, so I was expecting to like them. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed. And now I’ve tasted them, all I can say is I wish they’d sent me more.
Lemon & Poppy Seed
Creamy White Chocolate cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, poppy seeds, lemon oil, soya lecithin, vanilla powder.
Whilst I am a big fan of using white chocolate in baking, I usually find it too sweet and sickly to eat on its own. However, this bar is neither overly sweet nor sickly and if CT hadn’t been around I would have happily eaten the whole bar all by myself. The lemon offsets any excessive sweetness that might linger on the palate. I was also pleased to discover that the lemon is quite subtle and tastes more zesty than sour.
The poppy seeds give a delightful crunch to proceedings and have a delicate nutty flavour all of their own. I’ve made lemon and poppy seed cake many a time and now I’m wondering why I’ve never added white chocolate to it – something which needs to be remedied I feel. I’m almost tempted to use a bar of this chocolate to make the cake. But perhaps that would be a waste of a good bar? It did get a great taste gold award after all.
Mandarin & Ginger
Extra Dark Chocolate 72%. cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla extract, mandarin oil, ginger oil.
The flavour of mandarin hit first followed by a really rich punch from the dark chocolate finishing with a hint of gingery warmth which lingers in the mouth – nice. Neither too sweet nor too bitter, the ginger gave a subtle support to the mandarin and the two flavours were well balanced. The chocolate melted smoothly in the mouth and was more refined in character than many chocolates I’ve tasted. Dark is not my first chocolate of choice, but I really enjoyed this one. The great thing about good dark chocolate such as this, is that a little goes a very long way. A couple of squares and the chocolate craving has been satisfied – for a while! A very enjoyable bar.
Seed and Bean Glastonbury Festival Editions
Back in the summer of 2013, Seed & Bean brought out three limited edition 85g chocolate bars specifically for that year’s Glastonbury Festival in June. The inner wrappers are compostable, made primarily from eucalyptus trees and all bars are handmade in small batches. The colourful and festive wrappers were designed by artist Matt Lyons aka C86. If you’re quick, you may be lucky enough to get your hands on a bar. They’re available at £2.29 at the online shop, which seems reasonable for a top ethical product from a small British producer.
Fine Dark Chocolate (58% cocoa – cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vanilla extract, hazelnut paste).
This is like eating a fine bar of guinduja. It is rich, but very smooth and creamy at the same time, despite containing no dairy. The bitter notes from the dark chocolate has a slightly drying on the mouth quality and counteracts any cloying tendency there might have been. CT did his usual blind testing and detected hazelnut straight away. We really liked this bar.
Rich Milk Chocolate (30% cocoa solids – cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, vanilla extract, lime oil, smoked sea salt, soy lecithin).
Despite having quite a low cocoa content, this was my favourite bar. Although you think I might be a little biased by the inclusion of Cornish Sea Salt, I do like milk chocolate. I’m also particularly fond of the sweet and salt combination. Some sea salt chocolate bars really go to town with the salt, but this one is much more finely balanced and suits me very well. The touch of lime, gives an uplifting quality and a tropical feel. If you can get to it before it melts, it’s ideal chocolate for the temperatures we’re currently experiencing. The chocolate is ultra smooth and melts beautifully in the mouth. A very fine chocolate bar indeed.
Raspberry & Vanilla
Creamy White Chocolate (30% cocoa solids – cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, raspberry powder, soya lecithin, vanill powder).
White chocolate, by its very nature, is overly sweet and often cloying. But I wasn’t going to let that put me off. And actually, I guess because of the inclusion of fruit, this wasn’t as sweet as I was expecting. In my sweeter toothed moments, this bar would hit the spot very nicely. It has a grainier texture than the others, which helps to counteract the sweetness. The flavour of the raspberries themselves is quite pronounced and their sharpness reminds me of sherbet.
Let Us Know
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try any Seed and Bean chocolate, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Or you might even be the lucky winner. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Seed and Bean are offering a 20% discount on all orders during Fairtrade Fortnight, but do hurry as this ends on 8 March.
Seed and Bean has kindly agreed to give one of my readers four bars of their 85g chocolate bars as described above. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post and answer the question. This will then give you additional chances to enter if you so wish.
Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you comment anonymously, please give me some way to identify you as I will need to verify the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.