Who doesn't love a gift of chocolate? Unwrapping a box of chocolates, even as a chocolate blogger, is still a thrill.
A dear friend gifted me a box of Green & Black's Organic Milk Collection with 12 miniature bars tucked inside a colourful box. And you know me. I can't eat chocolate without first sharing my thoughts with you guys.
A very colourful cardboard box with shades of blues, yellows, and golds plays host to 12 assorted miniature bars of chocolate. The subtle use of gold-foiled print adds to the luxurious appearance.
Unlike the Green & Black’s Velvet Edition Dark Chocolate Orange & Almond or the Green & Black’s Velvet Edition Dark Chocolate Raspberry & Hazelnut bars I recently reviewed, this collections is fiercely proud of its organic status. The word 'organic' appears numerous times on the box and on the bars, alongside the Fairtrade and Soil Association logos.
The reverse of the box is a very dark grey and features golden print, which is quite difficult to read.
Pictures of five different flavoured bars sit to the side, along with their quantities inside the box. The remainder of the box is made up of a list of the ingredients and the nutritional information.
Green & Black's Organic Milk Miniature Bar Collection Ingredients:
Raw cane sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, chopped roasted almonds, emulsifier (soya lecithin), glucose syrup, salted butter, palm oil, Anglesey sea salt, vanilla extract, molasses, natural flavouring, vanilla pod.
Bear in mind these are aggregated ingredients for all 12 bars, but it's still disappointing to see sugar as the dominant ingredient, even if it is raw and from canes. The sugar content on average in these bars is 45%.
Still, it's worth mentioning that the recipe is free from artificial flavourings, artificial colourings, and artificial preservatives. The chocolate is certified as organic.
Each bar weighs in at a respectable 15g and Green & Black's reckons a bar is equal to a recommended portion size, which is good news. I half expected to find each bar equivalent to two servings.
I've reviewed each bar independently below, but they do share some common characteristics:
- Each has the cutest, most adorable form of a scaled down Green & Black's chocolate bar, complete with a tiny G&B lead emblem imprinted on each segment.
- The snap of all bars is relatively clean, although the textures are quite gritty, not helped by sugar being the primary ingredient in every single bar below.
- The portion size is ideal as a sensible-sized treat.
- Unlike the Velvet Edition bars I tasted before, these use mostly certified organic ingredients as well as 71% to 73% Fairtrade sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and molasses in most bars. The exception is the Almond bar which uses just 57% Fairtrade ingredients.
Green & Black's Organic White Chocolate
Green & Black's Organic White Chocolate ingredients:
Raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla pod, vanilla extract. Minimum cocoa solids 30%.
Despite being liberally splattered with flecks of vanilla, this bar gave off very little aroma, although I detected slight hints of creaminess together with mild hints of sweet vanilla.
It had a mild creamy taste, with subtle hints of vanilla that came through very gently. The creaminess almost verged on becoming buttery. It was very sweet, though, and a little went a long way.
Vanilla lead in the aftertaste, although there was a slight acridity present alongside.
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Anglesey Sea Salt
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Anglesey Sea Salt ingredients:
Raw cane sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, Anglesey sea salt, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract. Minimum cocoa solids 37%.
The first of four bars that use the same milk chocolate base recipe, this one was spiked with flecks of sea salt heralding from North Wales.
The bar had a creamy initial aroma, with milky and lactic notes.
The crunch and taste of the salt dominated the flavour in this bar, and detrimentally so I felt. As a result, there was very little cocoa taste that came through, making this one quite bland. The cocoa that did come through was heavy going and mildly bitter. I detected slight caramel notes in the flavour profile too.
Salt lead in the aftertaste once again, where it surpassed the cocoa flavour. I appreciate that this bar was designed to let the sea salt shine, but even at 0.5%, it hogged all the limelight, not just some of it.
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds ingredients:
Raw cane sugar, chopped roasted almonds, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract. Minimum cocoa solids 37%.
There was no mistaking this bar was almond flavoured, as it was generous crammed with roasted almond chunks (23% of the bar to be precise). It muddied the snap but understandably so.
As with the Sea Salt bar, there was not much of an aroma to excite me, just the same milky and lactic notes.
In terms of taste, the almond - at nearly a quarter of the recipe - dominated both taste and texture. There was a slight creaminess revealed to the milk chocolate which was teased out by the nuttiness, although I craved deeper and darker roasted nut flavours. The almonds also intensified the sweetness in the bar. What the almonds lacked in depth of flavour, they made up for in crunch, and overall it just about worked.
The aftertaste is quite bland, with a hint of almond lingering for just as long as it took me to fish out all those tiny fragments of nuts from my teeth.
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch ingredients:
Raw cane sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butterscotch (raw cane sugar, glucose syrup, butter, palm oil, molasses, natural flavouring), emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract. Minimum cocoa solids 37%.
It was no surprise that there was not much of a discernable aroma to this bar, given it shared the same base recipe as the bars before. However, in terms of flavour, it was a different story.
Generous chunks of butterscotch pieces liberally filled the bar, forming 10% of the recipe. Be prepared for these to stick to your teeth. As they do, they impart bags of buttery flavour. Again, the chocolate flavour was overwhelmed but that was to be expected, but I don't think it was a loss in this particular case. The richness and flavour of the butterscotch was front and centre and I liked it this way in this recipe.
I detected a subtle floral hint in the flavour, and attributed that to the hint of vanilla extract in the bar.
The butterscotch flavour dominated the aftertaste and lingered for some time, which was no bad thing.
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate
Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate ingredients:
Raw cane sugar, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract. Minimum cocoa solids 37%.
I deliberately saved the unadulterated milk chocolate bar until the end, to see what the base recipe was like before it received those additional flavours.
Again, there was no noticeable aroma to shout about, but that has been the story all the way through this review. This time around, however, the taste was abundantly clear. The cocoa flavours in the creamy and very sweet milk chocolate hovered in the middle, not veering towards being too rich while not being too delicate either. There's a distinct flavour, but it sits on the darker end of the milk chocolate taste spectrum.
There was a slight bitterness to the chocolate that developed in the aftertaste. The blend of acidic bitterness and incredible sweetness didn't sit right to me, as it felt the sugar was there to almost mask the off-centre taste of the cocoa.
I loved the shape of these cute little bars, and I liked the journey they took me on. But I much preferred eating them alongside a cup of strong coffee than on their own. I couldn't get on with the cocoa and sugar blend in this iteration of acidic, overly-sweet milk chocolate, although I did enjoy the butterscotch flavour. That said, if I were to buy a full-sized bar from this range, I'd opt for the flavourful white chocolate.
As this was a gift from a friend, I don't know how much it cost them. However, the Green & Black's Organic Milk Miniature Bar Collection is available from Green & Black's Direct° at £5.50 for a 180g gift box. It's also available at Tesco.
Do you think miniature bars are a great way to test new chocolate, or do you prefer your chocolate in significantly bigger slabs? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: I received the 180g box of Green & Black's Organic Milk Miniature Bars as a gift from a friend. My opinions are my own.