Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cote d’Or 70% Cacao Bars

Cote d'Or Cocoa Nibs in 70% Cacao & 70% Intense Cacao BarThere are so many mid-range chocolate bars available these days, just going into Target presents a whole aisle of upscale chocolate choices that go far beyond the traditional Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar or Nestle’s Crunch.

One European manufacturer that’s becoming ubiquitous is Cote d’Or. It’s Belgian chocolate, which has a certain cache. Cote d’Or was named for the Gold Coast of Africa, which is now Ghana and a prime cocoa growing area. The company was founded by Charles Neuhaus but is now owned by Kraft Foods (which owns many European chocolate companies, including Toblerone, Terry’s Chocolates of Whack-&-Unwrap-Orange fame, Milka & Marabou).

Though they’re made by Kraft, they’re imported and distributed by Ferrara Pan ... you know, the Atomic Fireball and Lemonheads folks. (But it makes a certain amount of sense, they don’t do chocolate candy but have a huge distribution network.)

I’ve never really given Cote d’Or much thought, I always put it in the same category as Ghirardelli or even Lindt - a very nice brand, but just not quite my bag. Or is it? Candy Blog is supposed to make me open my mouth and expand my mind, so I should be trying new things. So when a bunch of bars Cote d’Or 70% Cacao bars showed up in my All Candy Expo samples box, I had to give it another look.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Cote d'Or 70% Cacao

I started with the Intense 70% Cacao. The boxes are smart looking, just a paperboard box, great for protecting an unfinished bar. They’re 100 gram tablets (3.53 ounces), so it’s about 2.5 servings. There are 10 squares, each with the trumpeting Elephant icon of their logo.

The tempering is good, they have a great snap, if a little soft. The bar doesn’t look shiny like many others, but this is because of a texture in the mold that makes it matte. I think it makes the bar look a little dull. What sells it though is it smells wonderful - fresh and woodsy and of course chocolatey.

What struck me as odd about these bars is that they’re called Belgian Dark Chocolate Confection ... not just chocolate but they qualify it as a confection. Flipping over the box it shows that even though this is high cacao chocolate, it also has milkfat (though listed on the label right above soy lecithin, so not in very high proportion).

It melts quickly, it’s smooth and not too intense, no matter what the name says. It has a very buttery, nutty tasting base. It’s a little fruity, not acidic but has some raisin notes. For a dark, it’s very approachable.

Cote d'Or Cocoa Nibs in 70% Cacao

The bar that pretty much made me squeal with anticipation is the new Cocoa Nibs 70% Cacao. I’m a huge fan of nibs and this one promises caramelized cocoa nibs in DARK chocolate confection. Unlike the other 70% bar, this one has no milkfat, so is suitable for vegans.

It’s easy to see the nibs in the cross section. They’re the perfect proportion of chocolate and nibs. The caramelization is what makes this bar so nice. It’s not like they’re toffee coated, they’re just crips and crunchy, kind of like chocolate infused macadamia nuts.

The flavor is a bit more intense, but the variations in texture and the delivery of so much chocolate in each bite makes this bar a winner. I haven’t tasted it side by side with the Hershey’s Cacao Reserve, but since I expect them to be similar price points, I definitely say give this a try.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Ghirardelli Intense Dark
  2. Pop Rocks Milk Chocolate Bar
  3. Theo 3400 Phinney Bars
  4. Scharffen Berger - Cacao Nibs
  5. Noir au Grue de Cacao
Name: Intense 70% Cacao & Cocoa Nibs 70% Cacao
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cote d'Or
Place Purchased: samples from All Candy Expo
Price: $3.50 retail
Size: 3.53 ounces
Calories per ounce: 184 & 177 (I think the package is wrong)
Categories: Chocolate, Nibs, Belgium, Kraft, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:39 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Your UK readers might want to know that these are currently BOGOF in Tesco and also half price in Co-op!! I havent bought them yet myself but after your review Cybele I must admit im rather tempted!

    Comment by Jim on 6/17/08 at 12:49 pm #
  2. I have a soft spot in my heart (stomach?) for Cote d’Or. On our first trip to Europe in 1990, we got to try fancy-to-us chocolate in the various European countries we visited, and this was one of them! I can’t for the life of me remember what we got in Germany or Switzerland, but we got Cote d’Or while in Belgium! Maybe I’ll try that nibs bar, if I can find it…

    Comment by Tricia on 6/17/08 at 7:30 pm #
  3. I was impressed with Cote d’Or chocolate right off. Great review, as always.

    Comment by Jeanna on 6/18/08 at 4:29 am #
  4. This is my cousin’s favorite chocolate brand, bar none. I blame it on the many years she lived in France (yet she didn’t take to Michel Cluizel or Lindt?).

    Comment by Sera on 6/18/08 at 10:48 am #
  5. All your raving nib reviews are making me want to go out and buy some for myself!  But the one and only time I bought a nib bar scarred me…they were SOUR and disgusting.  :(  That’s not the normal flavor profile—sour and acidic—right?  I really do want to understand why you love them so much.

    Comment by Pammeh on 6/20/08 at 8:49 pm #

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