Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas shopping for the chocolate connoisseur in your family? A review of three of Lindt's newest products... and advice on where to shop for the chocolate connoisseur.

Got a chocolate lover in your family and don't know what to buy them?  Are they into dark chocolate, rich truffles or the gourmet stuff and you have no idea where to start?  My general advice would be to look online for Valrhona chocolate, Michel Cluizel chocolate or chocolate made by small bean-to-bar manufacturers (like Potomac, Dick-Taylor, Patric Chocolate or other craft chocolate bar makers).  Alternately, truffles and filled chocolates with all sorts of wonderful ingredients, like Balsamic vinegar, basil, soft cheeses, vintage wine, sea salt or other unique flavours made by true artisan chocolatiers would be appreciated by any true chocolate lover. Try Soma in Toronto for some interesting flavour combinations or look online other for artisan chocolatiers who ship fresh-made filled chocolates to your door. 

What if you don't have time to seek out just the perfect gift online? In that case, look at your local department store, pharmacy or grocer because you likely have a large range of Lindt products nearby and some of them may just satisfy that chocolate lover's cravings. Just the other day, I found three new products by Lindt: the Lindt PASSION chocolate bar with Caramel & Sea Salt, a box of four Lindt Gourmet Truffles and the "new" Lindt Excellence 50% Cacao Smooth Dark 100 gram chocolate bar. I bought all three from Christmas chocolate displays at Sears Canada to taste and to share my review of them here on this blog.

I am not completely sure that the Lindt Gourmet Truffles box is a new product. It was, however, the first time I had seen it in the stores. The four truffles in the box weigh 63 grams (2.2oz) and there was one dark chocolate truffle, two milk chocolate truffles and one white chocolate truffle. I tasted the dark chocolate, and for a truffle with a long shelf life (i.e. made with oils rather than cream), I really liked it.  I generally find dark chocolate commercialized truffles too sweet, like the Lindor dark chocolate truffles, but this one was quite good.  I could taste the distinct flavour and texture of the coconut oil, but it was still good, smooth and melted in my mouth.  I also liked the rough outer edge. The milk chocolate was absolutely mouth-watering.  They even had fork marks on the bottom, showing that they were hand dipped in chocolate. The white chocolate also surprised me - I liked it - it was not overly sweet and had a full rich flavour.

The only real down-side of these Lindt "Gourmet" truffles is that artificial flavour is used instead of real flavour. And although it is very subtle in the flavour of this product, my personal opinion is if you are going to call something "gourmet", just use real flavouring.  I know it costs more from a manufacturing perspective, but customers like me just appreciate the extra effort.

The other Lindt product which is definitely new, according to the Lindt website, is the Lindt PASSION bar with Caramel & Sea Salt.  I think the taste is superb. The salt and caramel pieces pair with the dark chocolate perfectly and one side of the bar is smooth and melts on your tongue, while the other side offers a fun crunchy texture. It is a beautiful chocolate and overall, quite tasty. I highly recommend it as a stocking stuffer for any dark chocolate lover.  Just be aware that it has the same downside as the Gourmet Truffles: artificial flavour. But if your chocolate lover is not too picky about that sort of thing, they may really like this product.

The last product is the Lindt 50% bar. I know this is a new product because of the red "NEW" splashed across the front of the package. It tastes great and the chocolate is just as smooth as all other Lindt Excellence bars are. However, the ingredients list includes additives like butter fat and glucose syrup, so if you are looking for a healthier product, you are best to stick with Lindt Excellence 70% which has less ingredients and is much healthier for you. Unlike the truffles, the 50% cacao bar does have natural flavouring by way of Bourbon vanilla bean.

For me, I would prefer high-end products from craft chocolate makers, as mentioned above, but if one of my family members just does not know where to start shopping for me, I would be happy to see a LINDT PASSION bar or Lindt Gourmet Truffles under my Christmas tree. After all, I still have not tried the Lindt PASSION Orange & Pistachio bar (hint, hint to any family member that may be reading this!). As for the 50% cacao dark chocolate bar, use it for chocolate shavings on a cake or to melt down and enrobe a home-made chocolate truffle, but don't bother buying it for the chocolate connoisseur in your family.

Here are the stats from the packages of the three Lindt products that I tried this week:

Lindt Excellence 50% Cacao Smooth Dark, 100 g
Manufactured by: Lindt & Sprungli SAS (France)
www.lindt.com
Ingredients: sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butter fat, soya lecithin, glucose syrup, natural bourbon vanilla bean.  May contain traces of peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

Lindt PASSION Caramel & Sea Salt 'Dark Chocolate with Caramel and Sea Salt', 97g
Manufactured by: Lindt & Sprungli (Shweiz) AG
www.lindt.com
Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butterfat, skim milk powder, soya and rapeseed lecithin, lactose, natural flavour, artificial flavour, sea salt.  May contain traces of peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

Lindt Gourmet Truffles "Assorted Fine Chocolates", 2.2oz (63g)
Lindt & Sprungli AG, Switzerland
Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa butter, milk ingredients, coconut oil, cocoa mass, soya lecithin, barley malt extract, artificial flavour.  May contain traces of peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

7 comments:

  1. I love this post. Now I'm craving some good quality chocolate. Is it wrong that I swiped the TOFFLES you attached to Little One's birthday card and kept them for myself?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hint, hint, eh? Guess we'd better start shopping for your Christmas gift!

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  3. Ha Ha C - not wrong at all! Dinah, wait for it...I've got some links to send you so you can buy the good stuff for me!

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