With Fairtrade fortnight less than a week away, 23rd February - 8th March, it seems an appropriate time to highlight some chocolate companies that are not only producing delicious bars of chocolate but are also great in terms of their ethical and Fairtrade standards. I've reviewed a couple of their bars before, both which I found great and which I briefly highlighted the work they're doing in which they both source their cocoa and produce their bars in Madagascar, ensuring the workers have a fair wage and keep the work within the country the cocoa is actually coming from.
The bars have a wonderful rustic feel to them with paper wrapping that looks almost linen like , tied with a piece of straw like material; with good information about the company and how the heirloom cocoa they use - a rare variety, produces the great smooth quality flavours present in the bar.
This bar won a Great Taste award in 2013 and it's easy to see why. This bar is a milk chocolate 44% cocoa, not only using beans from Madagascar but also Madagascan Arabica crushed coffee beans/nibs are sprinkled on top of the bar.
The chocolate itself has a lovely smooth milky caramel flavour whilst the crunchy coffee nibs on top provide a wonderful texture and taste contrast, they add a great punch of coffee bitterness to the bar and a gorgeous crunchy texture.
Together the contrasting flavours of the sweet creamy chocolate and the bitter coffee balance together perfectly. A superb coffee chocolate bar, with lovely depth.
As opposed to the Espresso Bean bar this was a dark chocolate bar, with a minimum of 59% cocoa solids, sea salt and roasted almond nibs.
I didn't get a lot of sea salt from this bar to be honest, it is a very subtle flavour that's for sure and doesn't pack a massive salty punch.
Not that deters anything from the overall eat of the bar, the dark chocolate is lovely, light and fruity with hints of red fruits that work really well the nutty roasted almond flavour, which like the espresso bean bar, provide a great textural crunch.
Both bars I tried were delicious, I think it ultimately just depends what you're looking for in a chocolate bar; although the Espresso Bean bar is produced with milk chocolate, because of the coffee element is actually more of an intense eat compared to the Salted Almond; which although is a dark chocolate bar actually offers quite a fruity, refreshing experience.
Or..you could try both! In honour of Fairtrade Fortnight, Madécasse have offered 1 lucky reader the chance to win a bar of both; all you have to do is simply follow me on Twitter, @LotOChoc and re-tweet the tweet about this review.
Taste - 8.5/10 - Great high quality bars, good depth and overall well balanced.
Texture - 8.6/10 - Loved the textural contrast in both bars.
Appearance - 7.9/10 - Lovely rustic feel to the bars.
Price - 7.4/10 - 75g bars for $5.99 which is around £4.00, really good value.
Overall - 8.1/10 - Great quality chocolate with great ethics.
Certainly anyone concerned with Fairtrade production should hunt out Madecasse's chocolate.
WHERE TO BUY?I'm pretty sure Wholefoods, Selfridges, Waitrose etc stock Madecasse. You can take a look at their US website here.