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March 22, 2016
Peanuts creator Charles M. Schultz once wrote, “All you need is love… but a little chocolate every now and then doesn’t hurt,” and that’s one philosophy Profood definitely ascribes to! We won’t settle for any old chocolate though; as with all the rest of our products, only the very best is good enough for our virtual shelves – which is how we ended up choosing independent fair-trade chocolatiers Zotter.
Giving Willy Wonka a run for his money, this family-run business produces every single one of their 365 creations (one for each day of the year!) in-house at their factory in Austria – right from roasting the cocoa beans to grinding the cocoa mass in the conche. These chocolates are all proudly bean-to-bar, sourced directly from small cocoa farmers in South America, and using only the best quality organic and fair-trade beans means that the proof of the pudding is quite literally in the tasting!
Profood stocks chocolates from two Zotter lines: the award-winning Labooko range of pure single-origin bars and the creative Mitzi Blue range of hand-finished chocolate discs featuring exciting flavour combinations. We’re obviously far too biased to pick a favourite, so we rounded up some of Hong Kong’s top foodies – Daniel Cheung (a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and Little Adventures food tour guide), Gary Suen (enthusiastic home cook and food blogger at Joie de Vivre) and Rachel Read (freelance food writer and creator of lifestyle blog Through The Looking Glass) to weigh in for a blind taste test! Here’s what they thought of Zotter’s finest…
Cocoa in its purest form, made from Naranjillo cocoa beans.
Rachel: This is much less gritty and more palatable than the high cocoa-percentage chocolates I’ve tried in the past – definitely one for fans of bitter, intense dark chocolates.
Gary: Its bitterness reminds me of coffee or Chinese herbal tea. I think it would work well for cooking – maybe used in a sauce to compliment venison or pork?
Dan: Yep, I agree – it would be great for cooking because it tastes so clean and obviously has nothing else extra added. It’s got an almost charcoal-like quality.
Made from Criollo beans, known as the world’s most aromatic cocoa beans, and topped with prized “Porcelana” translucent white beans.
Rach: This is quite earthy and bitter – there’s no mistaking it’s dark chocolate!
Gary: It’s got some acidity to it but is still aromatic… I’m actually picking up a cranberry flavour.
Dan: It’s quite complex and has a long finish – this is my favourite so far!
After trying 2700 chocolates for his book Der Schokoladentester (The Chocolate Tester), George Bernardini declared this Nicaraguan creation to be “the best milk chocolate in the world”.
Dan: Although it’s very fragrant, I like how it doesn’t have that overbearing vanilla flavour many milk chocolates have.
Gary: It’s very smooth and balanced, and definitely not as sweet as many supermarket milk chocolates.
Rach: It’s beautifully creamy and really melts in the mouth… it would make a great hot chocolate actually, as it has that velvety smooth quality but without stinting on that strong cocoa taste. My current favourite!
Perfect for those who don’t like strong cocoa content, this white chocolate also features the aromatic South American tonka bean.
Rach: I’m not normally a fan of white chocolate but this is actually quite pleasant – it’s not too sweet and has more of an aromatic quality to it. It’s really creamy too; I think kids would love this one.
Gary: It has a good vanilla flavour – it pairs really nicely with tea [we were drinking Darjeeling at the time!].
Dan: It actually reminds me of crème brûlée!
White chocolate combined with cinnamon, orange and nuts rolled in vanilla and palm sugar.
Dan: This is very sweet; the candied nuts are an interesting touch.
Gary: I can really taste the cinnamon, and I’m picking up some nutmeg too.
Rach: This is definitely one of the most aromatic ones we’ve tried. The orange is much more fragrant than the usual orange flavour you’d find in chocolate; it’s much more floral and bright, like orange blossom.
Dark chocolate spiked with coffee and guarana fruit, covered in caramelised and salted peanuts.
Rach: Wow, this one is smoky!
Gary: I can really taste the intensity of the coffee beans here, but the texture is still very smooth. This is probably my favourite of all the ones we’ve tried.
Dan: It strangely reminds me of aged soy sauce with that kind of malt flavour to it, and the roasted peanuts complement the coffee well. This is one of the most complex ones we’ve tried – it’s my new favourite too!
So there you have it, our foodie panel have spoken! Now you’ll just have to try them all to find your own Zotter favourite…
Rachel Read is a freelance writer, editor and blogger with over a decade’s worth of media experience under her belt. In addition to co-founding writing & editing agency Editors’ Ink and writing her own lifestyle and beauty blog Through The Looking Glass, Rachel is a food lover whose job frequently involves checking out the latest restaurant openings in Hong Kong – yum! Follow her on Instagram for #foodporn aplenty.
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