Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review: Alter Eco Dark Blackout

Lindy's Rating: 3.0 (previously *)
Richard's Rating: 3.0 (previously *)

chocolate makerAlter Eco™
barDark Blackout
cacao trees(unknown)
size100g ~ 3.5oz
cocoa solids85%
added fatcocoa butter
sweetenercane sugar
other ingredients(none)
list price$4.39

colormedium-dark brown
PANTONE 19-1015 Bracken
texturesmooth, with lines and scoring
aromaearthy (musty), dried fruit (prune), hints of roast and spice
snapmedium hard
tasteroast, burnt, hint of sweet, bitter
finishsomewhat bitter, dry
Alter Eco™ sells several fair trade products, including tea, rice, quinoa, coffee, and sugar, as well as chocolate. Their Dark Blackout chocolate bar has 85% cocoa solids. Although the wrapper front is boldly labeled Bolivia, the cocoa solids come from not only El Ceibo cooperative of Bolivia, but also from Costa Rica. The origin of the other ingredients is also identified in fine print on the back of the wrapper: cocoa butter from Bolivia and the Dominican Republic and cane sugar from Paraguay. This bar contained no emulsifier or flavoring, and was certified as both organic and fair trade.

The color of this 100 gram Dark Blackout was a medium dark brown and the bar was scored into 24 pieces with a lined top as shown in the picture. The snap was a bit softer than typical.

Aromas from this chocolate were primarily earthy and dried fruit. The earthy scent was musty and the dried fruit seemed closest to prune. Lindy found the prune smell noticeably unpleasant. There were also fleeting smells of roast and spice, but we weren't able to further identify them.

The taste was dominated by burnt, which Lindy thought was that of a "cajun" nut. She also found it bitter. I noticed some roast and an underlying sweetness that mostly hid the bitterness from me. We both kept waiting for other flavors to show up, but we ended up disappointed. Ultimately, there wasn't much flavor to this chocolate.

It took a while for the pieces of chocolate to begin to melt, though they did quickly begin to release their flavor. The melt was nicely smooth, and Lindy found it to be nearly in the more smooth category.

The length of flavor after the chocolate was gone was only a few seconds, and we were left with a dry and somewhat bitter aftertaste.

Neither of us liked this bar, and it was definitely overpriced. I paid $4.99 for this bar at our local Safeway grocery (above its list price of $4.39).

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