When I first started trying and testing out, as well as learning about bean to bar chocolate, it was the first taste of a bar from Madagascar that got me hooked! I still love bars from Madagascar, think it was burst of red fruit that surprised me that woke me up to more than just chocolate flavour found in chocolate bars.
Menakao 44% Milk. By producing the bar entirely on Madagascar brings the local economy four times the income of Fair Trade chocolate. Again guilt-free chocolate. Smooth, with a slight hint of vanilla, not the cheap overpowering vanilla used to mask the poor quality beans.
Madecasse 80% Cocoa. They set about producing chocolate on Madagascar to help the local economy. Partnering with local cocoa farmers and a factory in the capital Antananarivo, they produce chocolate that has around four times the benefit of Fair Trade. An intensely fruity note with a slight pepper hint. Slightly coarser than other bars but equally pleasing.
Hailing from the sexy French Pralus Le 100% is like no chocolate I’ve ever tried before. With no added sugar or other ingredients than 100% cocoa beans and cocoa butter, it should be mouth-puckering bitter and dry. But this chunky bar is completely different, a slight oaty aroma, by allowing the square to melt over your tongue you are hit with an overwhelming creaminess, like swallowing pure silk. With hints of sweetness coming from the beans alone, a true revelation. Poor 100% cocoa solid bars have been getting a bad reputation. This bar could rival milk chocolate on the scale of creamy chocolate.
Chocolat Madagascar 50% Milk Chocolate. Made by Chocolaterie Robert on the island of Madagascar and actually kept as a fairly local secret treat. This super creamy milk chocolate was an utter delight. Being fruity milk chocolate there isn’t any a high sugary note you would have got with cheaper mass-produced bars of the same cocoa solids. A nice caramelised milk, toffee flavour.
Akesson’s Madagascar Ambolikapiky Plantation 75% With Pink Pepper. This company also grows pepper alongside their cocoa, so makes perfect sense to combine the two fantastic ingredients. I really like the use of pink pepper in sweet items as it adds a slight fruity warmth to the chocolate. The pepper level is quite high in this bar, that it may put off some people but with the smooth rich base chocolate.
Jordi’s Milk Chocolate With Nibs from the Czech Republic’s only bean-to-bar chocolate maker. I love cocoa nibs and use them a lot in my baking. The nutty earthy nibs blends beautifully with a creamy base. A really great bar to nibble on. And with the cocoa nibs there you can say you are having a healthy snack with all the anti-oxidants.
Menakao and a Dark Chocolate With Cocoa Nibs and Sea Salt. Love love love the cocoa nibs, the savoury note from salt with a deep richness of the bar’s base. Also, a very ethical bar so doing some good through massive consumption.
I’m a sucker for a nice design and graphic and this bar was right up my street. Pump Street Bakery – Madagascar Milk 58% bar. The UK based family-owned bakery and cafe producing some utterly wonderful looking products, such as their pastries from around the world. But importantly they make amazing single origin chocolate. Super creamy and deep caramel notes with have you searching for the liquid caramel middle as surely a plain solid bar can’t be this rich with caramel flavour without any actual caramel in it. A truly wonderful bar. I now want to try their Sourdough & Sea Salt Chocolate bar as it sounds wonderful. Strong work.
I’m a massive sucker for beautiful packaging, I think it’s important and the moulding adds to the overall eating experience of the chocolate. Dick Taylor’s Madagascar Sambirano 72% bar is both of those things as well as being a special bar. Small-Batch chocolate makers based in North California who used to make wooden boats and furniture have now turned to make chocolate from raw cocoa. A batch takes about a month and well worth the weight. Clean tasting, whilst packing a punch of fruity, lime notes. We were also getting a hint of honey, a smooth intense but not over powdering bar. A gem.
For Parlus, the beans come from their own plantation in Madagascar which means they can carefully control the quality of the beans from start to finish. The Melissa Milk 45% chocolate is super smooth and more mellow than the Philippines bars, a deep caramel flavour that makes this bar incredibly moorish. In fact, the bar didn’t last one day of my commute to work. Oops!
Madecasse, who are committed to helping the local economy in Madagascar, this means the bars are produced in a factory in the capital city too. This bar contains Combava which to be honest I had never heard of before. It’s a local Madagascar fruit similar to a lime. So paired with the fruity heat from the pink peppercorns this bar is a tropical dream. A fresh, smooth bar which is a joy to eat, that will remind you of far off warmer lands when the weather is far colder here.
Omnon is a very cool producer from Iceland and currently producing their bars in a convert petrol station. Started by two chefs and from their discovery of bean to bar chocolate in America, discovered the wonders of the characteristics from using different beans. They are striving to make the best bars as possible and paired with their stunning packaging I think they are on to a winner. We had two of their bars to try, firstly Milk of Madagascar 45%. A beautiful caramelised butterscotch flavour notes than deep powerful chocolate but a clean flavour. With a smooth mouthfeel than a claggy coating mouthfeel that some milk chocolates tend to have with higher sugar and vegetable and inferior bars tend to have. A fabulous bar that will make you want to have a bar on hand for those desperate chocolate moments.
The second Omnon bar we tried was the Madagascar 66%. A slightly smoke hint which I really like in chocolate as well as the typical fruity notes from Madagascar beans that tend to have a berry and raisin characteristic. A fabulous bar that was my mum’s favourite bar we tried and a firm favourite with me too. Being honest we found this bar had a more distinct flavour the milk and a silken mouthfeel than the Hoja Verde, but this is a part of the bean to bar experience finding different bars and characteristics you like, like wine tasting.
Menakao Madagascar 80%. It’s big and bold and wakes up your palette. Typically fruity and well-rounded bar with a lasting flavour. Really robust and could stand up to a glass of Merlot.
Have you tried chocolate from Madagascar?
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