Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Lindt Excellence Flavors: Black Currant and Roasted Almond

When I heard that Lindt was releasing a new flavor in their Excellence line-- Black Currant-- I was ecstatic. Here is a flavor that we so rarely see in the U.S. I love black currants because they have such a unique flavor profile. Fruity and fragrant and so unlike any other berry or fruit. I did a little hardcore research Wikipedia surfing and found out that currant farming was banned in this country in the 1900s after it was discovered that they were a transmitter for white pine blister rust, and thus a threat to the logging industry. The times, they are a-changing, however, and now it's up to the state jurisdiction to say who can, and who can't, grow the Evil Berry of Paper Industry Doom. (The ban apparently has been lifted in Connecticut, which means I'm about to embark on a new career as the Molly Pitcher of currant farming).
In any case, since we so rarely see black currant-flavored anything around these parts, I was so excited to try the Excellence Black Currant. Upon opening the wrapper, I was immediately hit with that juicy, perfumey aroma of currant, followed by the bitter edge of the dark chocolate. And that's when I thought, "uh oh." Suddenly I panicked that currant would not be a good match for chocolate, unlike say, raspberry. The flavor is just too overpowering. I took a nibble. Then another. So here's what I think. The first taste is jarring. The second makes you really think about it. By the third, I was good with it, but in a limited way. This is not a chocolate bar for when you're craving chocolate with a capital "C." This is a sophisticated treat that is best eaten with great intention and a glass of wine. (The company suggests pairing it with Cabernet Sauvignon.) Proceed with caution, but definitely give it a shot.
The other new bar they've releases is Excellence Roasted Almond. It didn't seem like there was too much to get excited about there. In fact, I was very suspicious of the almonds because they're slivered and I'm very insistent that almonds be whole (or at the very least, half) in chocolate. Tiny chopped up almond pieces just don't do it for me. But I have to say, this bar surprised me in a very good way. The chocolate is very thin, so the almonds had to be slivered, but the ratio of nut to chocolate was very high, which made for a well-crafted, tasty bar. I would definitely buy this bar when I needed a serious dose of dark chocolate.

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