Think of fine Belgian chocolates and you'll probably reel off names such as Neuhaus, Galler, and Pierre Marcolini. But there's a company that dates its heritage back to 1926 and is quite possibly one of the most famous of them all - Godiva.
My first encounter with the brand was on a short trip to Brussels, Belgium, a place that kickstarted my love for Belgian chocolate.
Recently, I have spotted more and more Godiva products on the shelves at my local Sainsbury's store. I thought it was about time to put a Godiva dark chocolate bar through its paces, and I opted for the high 90% cocoa content bar for my test.
The outer cardboard box looks sleek, in a matt black with a gold-foiled stripe at the top and lettering the in brand name. An image of a segment of chocolate is shown on the packaging atop a yellow splash of artwork.
The description on this box explained this was a "luxuriously smooth and intense dark chocolate," and that it contained 90% cocoa solids.
The reverse of the packaging was by far busier, with a brief paragraph on Godiva's ethos, followed by the ingredients list and nutritional information in English, Dutch, and Swedish.
Godiva 90% Dark Chocolate 90g bar ingredients:
Cocoa mass, cocoa butter, fructose, emulsifier (soy lecithin), butter oil, natural vanilla flavouring. Cocoa solids: 90% minimum.
The bar contained around 12% sugars. Surprisingly, this bar was "crafted by Godiva Master Chocolatiers of Belgium" but was manufactured in Turkey. Read into that what you will, but I suspect this has something to do with trying to balance the manufacturing costs against setting a reasonable price point for the bars.
Inside the box was a diagram set against a blush pink background, explaining the traits of the 90% cocoa bar. Intense, rich, with a smooth mellow finish was how Godiva reckoned it ought to taste.
Godiva 90% Dark Chocolate Review
The bar, wrapped in a thick, textured, printed gold-coloured foil, was formed with a dozen rectangular segments. Each generously-sized domed segment had the Godiva logo etched into it. The bar was smooth and glossy, with barely any noticeable scuffs or marks.
The aroma was quite earthy, with a smokey depth balanced against hints of coconut and cream. The bar exhibited a clean, crisp snap.
Upon tasting, the bar was slow to yield any flavours. A gentle bitterness then developed alongside an earthy taste. Deep, rich flavours of chocolate brownie and Brazil nut poked through, before the smokey notes dominated. Towards the end, a walnut flavour briefly emerged before dipping back out.
All of this was set against a backdrop of bitterness, that intensified to a peak around mid-way through the melt. The aftertaste was mildly bitter, with the dominant flavour note being of rich chocolate brownie.
A curious creaminess ran throughout the taste and into the aftertaste. It helped to tame the bitterness but also seemed to compensate for a lack of sweetness.
This bar is an interesting one. Looking at the reviews online, it seems very popular with dieters and slimmers looking to enjoy guilt-free chocolate while watching their carbohydrate and sugar intake. Taste-wise, it seemed to divide opinion.
Personally, I liked it, but it wouldn't be my go-to bar, as I didn't find it anywhere near as intense or flavourful as I wanted it to be. It was also a lot creamier than I had expected, with the taste and mouth feel of that of a mid-70% dark chocolate bar. I couldn't eat much of it at a time, so ended up ducking in and out of the wrapper over several sittings, eating a segment at a time for a quick chocolate fix.
While I think there are more flavoursome dark chocolate bars out there, this 90% bar by Godiva does seem a great stepping stone from dark chocolate to the world of craft bean-to-bar chocolate, mainly thanks to the lack of sweetness and its familiar tasting characteristics. But I'm sure you'll yearn for something more from the cocoa after trying it, and that's where the Great British bean-to-bar makers come in.
If you've not discovered the world of craft chocolate yet, try this and see how you get on, before checking out some single origin chocolate bars. If you're a bean-to-bar chocolate addict then you might be left wanting more from this bar.
Want to give this bar a go? Curiously, I cannot find this bar on the Godiva website (not even in this list of Godiva dark chocolate products) but I could find the bar available in Sainsbury's and ASDA supermarkets, and online at Amazon°.
Godiva 90% Dark Chocolate Bar (90g) Review
RRP: £2.00 | Godiva | Shop now
A high percentage dark chocolate bar with a bitter character and a mild smokey flavour. It's not overly sweet and has a creamy undertone, making it feel indulgent. A little goes a long way.
Have you tried Godiva's 90% dark chocolate bar? What did you think of the aroma and taste? Let me know in the comments below.