Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Spartak Bitter Elite Aerated 72%

Richard's Rating: 4.0
chocolate maker(unknown)
barBitter Elite
regionCôte d'Ivoire
cacao trees(unknown)
size75g ~ 2.6oz
cocoa solids72%
added fat(none)
emulsifiersoy lecithin
other ingredients(none)
list priceN/A
colormedium brown
PANTONE 19-1431
texturerough, scoring, aerated, adhered bits, scuffing
aromavanilla, sweet, roast, fruit (prune, coconut)
tasteroast, sweet, vanilla, fruit (prune), hint of almond
meltaerated, less smooth
finishsomewhat bitter, somewhat tannin
Spartak is a company from Belarus. I do not know whether they make their own chocolate or have someone else produce it. I did find out that they source their cacao from Côte d'Ivoire.

Aerated chocolate is made by foaming the chocolate with a gas (typically nitrogen). The result is chocolate filled with bubbles, increasing both volume and surface area. Spartak sells both normal and aerated chocolate bars.

The ingredients of Bitter Elite Aerated were cocoa mass, sugar powder, soy lecithin, and "natural vanilla flavor" (which is the artificial ingredient vanillin fermented from edible inputs). A friend of mine gave me this chocolate bar to review (thanks Edward!) Normally, I would not consider reviewing any chocolate containing vanillin. However, since this bar was also aerated, I thought it would be interesting to make an exception.

Bitter Elite Aerated came sealed in a plastic wrapper, but was otherwise unprotected. The 75 gram bar contained 72% cocoa solids and was scored into 24 pieces. The production date was December 3, 2012. Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo above, the bar experienced some terrible conditions on its way to me.

The chocolate had a medium brown Fudgesickle (PANTONE 19-1431) color. The surface was rough, with some sheen, bubbles, and lots of superficial damage and adhered bits. The snap was medium, partially due to the aeration.

The aroma of Bitter Elite was a strong vanilla, with sweetness and scents of roast and fruit. The fruit scent included prune and coconut.

I tasted some roast, sweet, and prune flavors in the chocolate, but the dominant flavor was clearly vanilla. There was also just a hint of almond in the taste.

The melt was interesting due to the aeration. There was a sensation similar to carbonation as the chocolate melted and collapsed. Due to the low density, seemingly substantial pieces of chocolate were consumed surprisingly quickly. The melt seemed less smooth to me, though the aeration made it more difficult to compare.

The chocolate flavor lasted about 10 seconds after the chocolate was gone, giving a short length. The final aftertaste was somewhat bitter and somewhat tannin.

I definitely prefer the melt of traditional non-aerated chocolate. As for this particular chocolate, while its strong aroma was pleasant, the flavor was overwhelmed by the vanillin.

It appears that you can purchase Spartak Bitter Elite Aerated online from Russian Products for $2.64, though I've never shopped there.

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