This was a surprising discovery in the new Sydney Gewürzhaus store. Gewürzhaus Herb & Spice Merchants is one of my favourite herb and spice stores in Melbourne, and recently opened in the Strand Arcade in Sydney. However their own brand of chocolate, made by Koko Black, is something new. So read on for more information on this surprising chocolate.
At only 54% cacao solids, this is a relatively mild dark chocolate. However that is a good thing, as the key to this chocolate is the Tahitian vanilla salt flavouring, which realistically would not work in very high percentage chocolates.
Salt in chocolate is a bit of a new craze in gourmet chocolate (as opposed to salted caramel in chocolate), and I must say most of the time I’m not impressed. Usually the salt is too strong, too one-dimensional, and surrounded by average quality chocolate.
What is immediately intriguing about this particular chocolate is the emphasis on vanilla, and the fact that it is produced for Gewürzhaus by Koko Black – well known for high quality chocolate.
The packaging is simple white cardboard with black writing and some embossed gold designs. Upon opening, a simple plastic bag seals in the simple chocolate bar.
The aroma is quite characteristic of a mild dark chocolate from Koko Black – very aromatic – but in this case with a hint of salty smell, like chocolate by the seaside.
And that leads me to the ingredients. Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, Tahitian vanilla beans, sea salt, and soya lecithin. Quite clean and simple, which is usually the best.
Snap is relatively soft, with a smooth texture punctuated by the grains of sea salt. The underlying chocolate is a slightly fruity Belgian style flavour, very smooth with excellent aftertaste. The salt is certainly not hidden, but it is also not as overpowering as most that I have tasted. The vanilla is obvious, but again not overpowering, and contributes nicely to the complexity of flavour. For some reason – perhaps the chocolate quality, perhaps the presence of greater than usual vanilla, perhaps both – this salted chocolate actually works.
The aftertaste is a very pleasant salty chocolate, which doesn’t last too long and is not overwhelming.
Overall, if you like salt in chocolate, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the additional quality in this particular example. If you normally don’t like salted chocolate, don’t be put off – this may be worth trying, and may change your opinion.