France, Nosy Be, Madagascar, 45%
After trying several dark bars from Pralus, I figured it was time to give the 45% Melissa bar a shot. When I opened the package I was instantly reminded of something from my teen years. In high school, one of my best friends was Norwegian. Thanks to this friendship I discovered the horrors of pickled herring sandwiches and the glories of Gjetost. Gjetost is a fudgey goats cheese that tastes sweet like caramel. The Melissa bar is the same colour as gjetost and it also has a sweet, caramel flavour. Besides the pronounced caramel/gjetost notes I tasted a little tahini and delicate vanilla. I should point out that this bar does not contain added vanilla, so I feel that note might be from the milk. The package doesn’t specify the type of milk. I’m assuming it is cow milk, but it tastes distinctly different from the milk chocolate bars you get in North America. I’d describe the flavour as more pastoral.
I can’t claim to pull out any surprising characteristics from the beans. This is a sweet bar, but it is structured in a way that won’t make your teeth scream. It’s a grown-up sweetness. I don’t have any kids, but if I did I probably wouldn’t share this with them because I’m greedy. Of course, if you are the kind of person that enjoys sharing, this bar is hefty enough to split with friends and still get a decent portion. If I showed up at your house and you pulled this bar out to enjoy over tea, I’d know you valued my friendship.
Jasmine co-founded Chocolate Codex as a way to share her enthusiasm for chocolate. She has a certificate in Chocolate making from Ecole Chocolat and she runs a foodblog called The Blenderist.