Friday, 10 August 2012

Organic Seed & Bean Chocolate Bars - a review

Seed & Bean are a UK chocolate company selling organic and fair trade chocolate, handmade in Northampton. This is the only company I know of in the UK making chocolate bars which tick both of these very important boxes. The organic certifying body is the Soil Association, of which I'm a keen supporter, so Seed & Bean get extra points for this too. If you are interested in finding out more about their ethical credentials, there is plenty to be found on their website.

Not only is this 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. They have recently brought out a range of new flavours and a while ago I was sent 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 after tasting them, all I can say is I wish I'd been sent 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 surely 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.

I'm not sure how easy these 85g bars are to source, but they can be purchased from the Seed & Bean online shop at a cost of £2.29.

Disclaimer - I was sent these two bars for review purposes and as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

7 comments:

  1. A chocolate bar which combine ginger and mandarin flavours sounds very interesting. It's always a great pleasure to eat top quality chocolate bars.

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  2. The flavours of those two bars sound really lovely. Judging from your description I would go for the lemon and poppy seed one.

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  3. ooh these sound good, esp the dark choc and Mandarin and they are quite reasonable for premium chocolate bars.

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  4. Not heard of this company before and they are close to where I used to live! The dark chocolate one sounds yummy

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  5. I don't know this company. Dark chocolate is certainly the best one!

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  6. I would love to try the Lemon & Poppy seed one. A super combination.

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  7. Both of these flavours sound very interesting and as my palate has mattured, i previously detested dark chocolate, I find myself liking the more interesting and unusual flavour combinations.

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