I don't know of many bean to bar UK chocolate producers so when I read about Raven Chocolate, based in Aberdeenshire, Scotland I was eager to try their products, made with fresh, organic ingredients and single origin beans.
I used to quite enjoy dark chocolate and I still am partial to it now and then but to be honest my heart lies with milk varieties (and when executed well white chocolate), so the 45% hazelnut bar sounded like something I would enjoy, made with West African cacao beans topped with crushed hazelnuts & popping candy. Although to be honest I was slightly skeptical about the popping candy, I didn't feel that it really had a place in an elegant bean to bar chocolate.
Firstly I absolutely adore the packaging, it looks extremely classy, the raven logo & the map/poster style paper wrapping makes it really stand out. Opening the bar however was like getting into Fort Knox, it was stuck all over the place!! However I loved the actual shape of the bar; quite often chocolate companies opt for a simple thin slab where as I loved the 3d style shape Raven have opted for.
The snap of the chocolate itself is quite crumbly and didn't have that crisp, smooth snap I am accustomed to. Popping a bit into my mouth I was quite surprised by the flavour the bar presented, I was expecting that it would be quite sweet with hints of nutty praline with a sweet tang from the popping candy. In fact the bar offers a slightly bitter, yet lighter flavour, with slightly fruity undertones, I didn't really get a lot of flavour from the hazelnuts but they offered a nice textural contrast in the bar. However there certainly was no "pop" from the popping candy, I don't know whether it's possible for it to lose its "pop" but if so this definitely had, personally I thought this was a good thing as I wasn't really sure what it was doing in the bar in the first place. Despite being surprised by the flavour I actually quite enjoyed eating it, a lighter, less sweet/intense eat.
In terms of texture I thought I was going to be disappointed, crumbly chocolate is never normally a good thing, but actually on eating it provided an almost aerated experience, with the light delicate texture complementing the overall flavours of the bar.
Taste - 6.8/10 - Not what I was expecting at all from this bar but was actually rather enjoyable.
Texture - 6.9/10 - Again, not what I expected but the crumbly nature of the bar actually provided a great eat.
Appearance - 9.4/10 - I absolutely adore the design of the bar/packaging.
Price - 7.1/10 - At £3.50 for a 75g bar for an organic, single origin, bean to bar chocolate bar I think it's pretty good value.
Overall - 7.6/10 - A less sweet yet still delicious eat for those looking for a better quality milk chocolate bar whilst supporting UK producers!
WHO FOR?Anyone that already enjoys bean to bar chocolate bars or those looking to transition from sweeter milk chocolate bars to higher cocoa % bars.
WHERE TO BUY?
Online at Raven's website here.