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Yes, I realise we're in late November and yet here I am, writing about summer chocolate bars while its cold and miserable outside.
Choc Affair was clearing its stocks of summer chocolate bars to make room for its winter stock a while back. Linda was kind enough to keep a trio of summer bars to one side as I eagerly waited to see lay in store for their festive collection this Christmas.
As soon as the winter range dropped, I placed my order and received a weighty box of six chocolate bars. I purchased three from the summer range and three from the winter range. I ordered the 'Create Your Own 6 Bar Letterbox Selection' pack at £15.95, which lets you order six bars in one go at a slight discount on the £2.95 bars.
Delivery took a couple of days and the bars arrived inside a letterbox-sized cardboard box. Despite no additional internal packaging, five of the six bars arrived completely intact, having survived the perilous topsy-turvy journey through the postal network from York to Cardiff.
First impressions are great. Each Choc Affair bar boasts a colourful paper sleeve, and is wrapped in thick, textured silver foil, making the packaging 100% recyclable.
The logo and product name sits on the front, while the reverse includes the list of ingredients and nutritional information.
The wrappers also explain that each bar is made in the UK using couverture that supports CasaLuker's The Chocolate Dream programme, which backs local projects in cocoa growing regions in Columbia.
Choc Affair Summer Collection Chocolate Bar Reviews
From the summer 2020 collection, I ordered the classic Piña Colada combo of pineapple and coconut, as well as the curious combinations of lime and lavender, as well as lavender and mint.
Lime & Lavender Milk Chocolate
Choc Affair Lime & Lavender Milk Chocolate ingredients:
Milk chocolate (Sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), natural lavender flavouring, natural lime flavouring. Cocoa solids: 45% minimum; Milk solids: 20% minimum.
- 42% sugars.
Picture the iconic fragrance of the chocolate limes boiled sweets - this is uncannily similar. Zesty lime sits at the forefront, with creamy, milk chocolate undertones behind it. To one side sits a vague floral twist but it's difficult to clearly identify.
As I expected, lime leads in the flavour too. It's very lively, jumping and skipping around, almost masking the intricacies of the milk chocolate base. The base lends creaminess and sweetness but the cocoa notes only reveal themselves at the end. That's also when the lavender comes into play. Until now, it's especially shy. Even leading into the aftertaste, it's quite difficult to identify, but it does add a general floral aspect as an interesting twist on this classic flavour. A bit further along in the aftertaste - once the lime has settled down - it's easier to pinpoint the lavender.
If you love the chocolate limes boiled sweets, you'll love this. This one is all about the lime flavour and it unashamedly shouts about it. Lavender sits on the sideline as a playful twist, helping to keep the citrus in check.
Pineapple & Coconut Milk Chocolate
Choc Affair Pineapple & Coconut Milk Chocolate ingredients:
Milk chocolate (Sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), natural flavouring. Cocoa solids: 45% minimum; Milk solids: 20% minimum.
- 42% sugars.
The aroma of this bar conjures up images of being on holiday in the Caribbean, with a tropical drink on hand. Pineapple leads but only just, with both flavours very eager to show off.
In the taste, it's the pineapple that takes the lead again, but only marginally. The cocoa notes from the milk chocolate come through quite fast, along with a burst of sweetness and creaminess. The chocolate and flavourings jostle for supremacy throughout the melt, with the tropical flavours winning in the main.
Into the aftertaste, the chocolate leaves its mark but it's the coconut and pineapple flavours that linger longest.
I bought this bar expecting tropical vibes, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The bold tropical flavours of pineapple and coconut sit at the forefront and slap you across the face. If this doesn't take you back to warm, sunny beach-side memories, nothing will.
Peppermint & Lavender Dark Chocolate
Choc Affair Peppermint & Lavender Dark Chocolate ingredients:
Dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla flavouring), natural lavender flavouring, natural peppermint flavouring. Cocoa solids: 60% minimum.
- 39% sugars.
A heady aroma of peppermint releases into the air as you peel back the foil. There's just a hint of lavender in there to give it a floral twist. Beneath that there's rich cocoa notes from the chocolate itself.
On tasting, the floral qualities of the lavender yield first, with the refreshing peppermint flavour developing slowly alongside this. There's a richness to the chocolate, and a creaminess. The cocoa flavour toys with the floral and herbal qualities although is consistently subdued, right to the end of the melt. In the aftertaste, the mint eases off enough so that the lavender shines through one last time. The minty-floral flavour lingers for a long while afterwards.
I wanted to try this bar as I've tasted peppermint chocolate and lavender chocolate before, but never at the same time. This bold combination mixing herbs with flowers is likely to divide option. It's nice in small quantities.
Choc Affair 6 Bar Letterbox Gift Box Review
RRP: £15.95 | Choc Affair | Shop now
These are great value chocolate bars made with minimal ingredients and natural flavourings. Flavour combinations include classics as well as unusual pairings. Flavours pack a strong punch and sit above the chocolate notes. If you like bold flavours in your chocolate then you'll love these bars.
Where to Buy Online
The summer range is now discontinued but these interesting flavours may re-emerge after hibernating for the winter. I suspect the timeless combo of pineapple and coconut may come back soon.
In the meantime, you'll find the current range of Choc Affair chocolate bars on their website here.
If only one flavour could come back next year, which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.