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It is perhaps one of the most expensive chocolate bars I have purchased to date, but after one glance of the packaging, you'll see why I had to try the Peruvian Lime & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate bar from Amelia Rope.
In a London branch of Whole Foods Market, a sleek black box devoid of any imagery stood out in a sea of brightly coloured chocolate box packaging. Together with the price tag, I braced myself for a heavenly luxury chocolate tasting experience.
A sturdy black cardboard box with a comforting matt feel hid a 70g bar of milk chocolate. The Amelia Rope logo sat at the top, embossed in white and embellished with a bronze foiled cocoa pod, adding a fleeting dash of colour. Beneath sat the words "Peruvian Lime & Sea Salt Milk 41%".
On the reverse, there was a little more text. A quote sat above the ingredients list and nutritional information.
Amelia Rope Columbian 41% Milk Chocolate with Peruvian Lime & Maldon Sea Salt ingredients:
Milk chocolate (Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla), sea salt flakes (0.5%), lime oil (0.3%). Milk chocolate contains cocoa solids 40.5% minimum, milk solids 19% minimum.
Nutritionally, sugars constituted nearly 39% of the bar while salt made up 0.7%, theoretically resulting in a moderately sweet bar (but not overly so) with a noticeable salty taste.
The bar, made in England, is produced in a factory that handles gluten and nuts. The recipe is free of alcohol and is suitable for vegetarians. It's an award-winning bar too, having scooped the Academy of Chocolate bronze prize in 2018.
Disappointingly, there's no further information on the packaging explaining what sets Ameila Rope Chocolate apart from other brands, and not even an address of where the chocolate is made. It took a fair bit of digging on their website to find a London Pimlico address, but even that seems to be an office address.
The box opens at the top or bottom to reveal a textured gold-foiled bar of chocolate. I had hoped to find some information on Ameila Rope Chocolate or at the very least, information explaining the provenance of the luxurious, sustainable, and ethically-sourced ingredients. I glanced at their website to educate myself, but when I'm paying nearly £6 for a 70g bar, it's a step I shouldn't have to take.
On the plus side, the outer carton and aluminium foil can be easily recycled and the product is devoid of plastic packaging.
Amelia Rope Peruvian Lime & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Review
Before I go into my review, let me fill you in on the provenance of ingredients. The chocolate is sourced from a team in Columbia who prioritise sustainability and ethics. The team help educate and support the farmers, and even encourage farms to switch from cocaine production to cocoa production. The cacao is transformed from bean to couverture in Columbia, and is then shipped to England for final production. This means the cocoa butter, the milk powder, the sugar, the vanilla, and the soya lecithin are all Columbian.
I turned to LimaEasy to discover what was special about Peruvian limes. Limon Peruano (literally translated as 'Peruvian lemon') are "highly acidic, extremely sour," and exhibit a "distinct and strong flavour." In the recipe, this, in oil form, should deliver a clear and concise lime flavour.
So this is a feel good bar, with a sustainable and ethical pedigree. But does it taste as good as the positive message behind it?
Peeling back the thick, textured gold foil, I was greeted with a warming citrus aroma. The lime is very clear, and is followed by a rich chocolate scent. There's an almost-savoury edge to the fragrance, which slightly diverges it away from the scent of a chocolate lime boiled sweet°.
This chocolate bar was made using a mould that pre-portions 24 segments, each embossed with a motif of a pair of cacao pods, drawn from the Amelia Rope logo. There was a nice sheen to the chocolate, although segments were pitted with tiny air bubbles and specks from the Maldon Sea Salt flakes. A clean snap ensued, broadly following the lines of the mould creating a potential 24 portions.
As the chocolate hit my tongue, the Peruvian lime was the first flavour I detected. As expected, the flavour was crystal clear. It had a wonderfully fragrant and unmistakable taste. Next came the Maldon Sea Salt. As the sourness of the lime began to creep in, the salt combated this by adding a savoury edge. I'm not a fan of salt in my chocolate, but here it was used with great effect.
As for the chocolate, it got lost in the medley of flavours. Texturally, it was there, but the actual flavour of the Columbian milk chocolate got lost amongst the citrusy notes and saltiness.
Into the aftertaste, the rich chocolate flavour tried its best to sneak back in, but the lime and the salt once again kept it at bay. The saltiness made me crave something sweet, yet the sugars in the bar made me want something savoury. It was sensory overload!
I was left confused. The lime and salt felt like they were building up to a crescendo that never arrived. I craved something powerful to interact with the lime, and perhaps add another dimension to the bar - a subtle chilli kick perhaps?
Make no mistake, the lime flavour in this bar was crisp and clear, and the Maldon Sea Salt helped to temper its sourness with a savoury edge. The two elements were perfectly timed in sync, so the saltiness shone just as the lime started to sour. But the delicate milk chocolate was overpowered by the lime oil and not given a chance a shine through, and in a bar like this, I want to appreciate the 40.5% milk chocolate.
Amelia Rope Peruvian Lime & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Review
RRP: £6.00 | Amelia Rope | Shop now
A luxuriously-packaged chocolate bar that oozes decadence. However, I found the delicate flavour of the Columbian chocolate masked by the power of the Peruvian lime and this bar lacked the excitement befitting of its price tag.
Overall, I was disappointed with my investment. Given the nearly £6 price tag, I expected something a bit different, something a bit special. While the packaging looked pretty on the shelf, it lacked the product information befitting of its luxurious status. I desperately wanted to enjoy this bar more than I did - the chocolate was muted and the lime and Maldon Sea Salt combination, while expertly paired, lacked excitement. I also found it way too easy to chomp my way through this bar on autopilot, in much the same way I'd devour a much cheaper bar of milk chocolate. A luxury chocolate bar should be something that is savoured little and often.
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Chocolate and lime - a marriage made in heaven or a combination best forgotten? Let me know in the comments below.