Maybe it’s the heat or that I appear to be so relaxed that my resting heartbeat has gone into the low-40s, but my craving at the moment for milk chocolate has abated slightly. So I rustled in my sample box for something a bit darker. But not that dark. I pushed aside anything over 80% and instead looked for flavour.
The first bar I fell in love with was Solkiki’s Marañón 68% (£8), made using very rare beans from Peru: Fortunato No 4, which are highly flavourful but very temperamental. Who doesn’t like the sound of that? This chocolate contains only two ingredients: cocoa and sugar, and the texture was… kinda meaty, which is ironic as Solkiki is a wholly vegan brand. It had great mouth-feel, textured, almost stone ground, and it was so tasty, I ended up having to ration it before my heartbeat catapulted into the mid-50s.
Then came Chocolarder’s Ottange Farm Madagascan 74% (£5.95). Like Solkiki, Chocolarder puts real thought and care into its packaging. The Ottange farm is super small – fewer than 30 acres – and the smallest farm on the Mava plantation. Again, this was a two-ingredient bar of cocoa beans and unrefined sugar. It’s very complex in flavour: high fruit with an almost honey finish. It’s the sort of chocolate bar that commands your complete attention, and you have to be in the mood for it. When you are, it’s glorious, but I tried it one day after a fruit crumble (yes I’m getting ready for autumn) and it was all too much. But if you want a real moment alone with a grown-up bar, consider this.