When I think of Fairtrade chocolate, Divine immediately springs to mind. Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Union, a co-operative of 100,000 Ghanaian cacao farmers, is a majority stakeholder in the business with a 44% share and has a direct influence over the direction the chocolate business moves.
Last year, the company launched a new vegan range of dark chocolate made using organic São Tomé cocoa. I was given a couple of 30g samples of a couple of interesting flavours at the Speciality Food Fair in London to review here.
The 85% dark chocolate bars are produced in Germany using organic and fair trade ingredients. Recipes are free from palm oil and dairy products meaning these bars are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Both 30g bars were wrapped in a silver and gold woven foil wrapper, sealed inside a paper wrapper. The reverse of the paper wrapper contains lots of information about the Divine brand. I always like having something like this to read while eating. Chocolate should be an education, and the inside of packaging is perfect for introducing and educating customers to the business, the ethics, the cacao, and the farmers.
My wrappers each detailed the story of Hortência Pina and Eduardo Mattias, two cocoa farmers from São Tomé, explaining a bit about themselves and their roles within the CECAQ-11 cooperative.
Divine Organic 85% Rich Dark Chocolate with Refreshing Lemon Review
I wasn't keen on the lemon in the Ombar raw cacao bar, so I was interested to taste what it was like when paired with a strong 85% cocoa in this four-ingredient bar.
Divine Organic 85% Rich Dark Chocolate with Refreshing Lemon ingredients:
Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, lemon oil.
The ingredients list is minimal - just dark chocolate and some lemon oil. So, the chocolate really had a chance to shine here.
Despite weighing in at just 30g, the bar was still portioned into 10 generous segments, with a two-tone decoration of smooth and textured triangles.
The lemon fragrance dominated the initial aroma, although it was not particularity strong. Behind it sat hints of earthy, woody, and nutty scents. The bar exhibited a good clean snap.
Upon tasting, the bitter lemon lead the flavours released from this smooth bar. A rich bitterness from the chocolate then arrived, along with earthy and woody flavours. A gentle hint of creaminess crept in toward the end, steering the chocolate away from being overly bitter. The aftertaste, which lingered for a long time, was dominated by the bitter lemon but was complimented by a rich earthy cocoa flavour.
I was not keen on the combination of bitter lemon and bitter chocolate. While there was a glimmer of sweetness from this bar, it wasn't enough to balance out the bitterness for my liking. But if you like lemon and dark chocolate, this was a well-executed example where the lemon flavour was clear and pronounced.
Divine Organic 85% Rich Dark Chocolate with Turmeric & Ginger Review
This Divine chocolate bar featured the same base chocolate as the lemon bar, but with the flavours of turmeric and ginger.
Divine Organic 85% Rich Dark Chocolate with Turmeric & Ginger ingredients:
Cocoa mass, sugar, 9% ginger granules (sugar, ginger), cocoa butter*, turmeric powder, ginger extract. Minimum cocoa solids: 85%
There was a little more in this bar compared to the lemon variant, so I was curious to discover how that affected the overall flavour.
The bar looked similar to the lemon bar, albeit with orangey flecks, lumps, and bumps from the ginger granules. The granules impeded the clean, crisp snap ever so slightly, although the bar still snapped following the grooves as intended.
Ginger unmistakably led the initial aroma, with very feint earthy, woody, and nutty aromas that struggled to shine underneath.
Despite its fiery nose, the ginger was tame in this bar initially. As I hit a ginger granule there was a sudden explosion of heat that vanished in an instant. The chewy ginger granules added a coarse, gritty texture to the bar which just about worked.
The rich bitterness from the chocolate shone through more clearly in this bar, with the ginger fading away in the aftertaste to allow the cocoa to shine brightly.
Interestingly, the wave of creamy sweetness I detected in the lemon bar wasn't as pronounced in this bar, quashed by the bursts of ginger instead. I also didn't detect any notable qualities from the turmeric and wouldn't have identified it as an ingredient had I not known about its inclusion.
I found this bar much more enjoyable than the lemon variant. I liked the bursts of fiery ginger that exploded with brief glimmers of heat like fireworks in my mouth against a backdrop of 85% bitter chocolate. It also allowed the cocoa to shine through unimpeded.
You can buy these 80g bars, alongside the 85% Quinoa & Blueberry, 85% Cocoa Nibs, and 95% Dark bars, directly through the Divine Chocolate website (£2.99). They're also stocked by Ethical Superstore, Natural Collection, and Amazon°.
Divine Organic 85% Rich Dark Chocolate Review
RRP: £2.99 | Divine Chocolate | Shop now
Well-packaged beautiful-looking two-tine bars of dark São Tomé chocolate. I wasn't keen on the bitter lemon bar but liked the playfulness of the flecks of fiery granules in the ginger and turmeric bar
Do you prefer the lemon or turmeric and ginger dark chocolate bar? Let me know in the comments below.