After my lacklustre experience with the Green & Black's Velvet Edition Dark Chocolate Orange & Almond bar, you might be surprised to find me reviewing another bar from G&B's Velvet Edition range.
I have a multibuy offer to thank for that. But it's not all bad, as I get the opportunity to see if nuts enhance or destroy yet another classic flavour combination. This time it's dark chocolate and raspberry under the microscope.
As with its sister packaging, the box looks equally as sleek and stylish. I think I prefer the Orange chocolate packaging slightly more, as it is more vivid, but the graduated purples and pinks still draw your eye to the Raspberry & Hazelnut bar on the shelf. The gold foiled embossed print helps to add a classy feel to the packaging.
The dark grey rear of the box is packed full of information, including a paragraph on the company ethos, another about the product, and a third on Mondelēz International's Cocoa Life programme. As the BBC highlights, the Velvet Edition range drops both the Fairtrade and organic labels carried on Green & Black's main range - a curious move by a brand that is synonymous with both fair trade and organic ingredients.
The usual nutritional information follows, together with a short and sweet ingredients list.
Green & Black's Velvet Edition Dark Chocolate Raspberry & Hazelnut Ingredients:
Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Hazelnuts (5%), Freeze-dried Raspberries, Vanilla Bean Powder. Cocoa Solids 70 % minimum.
Compare this to the Orange and Almond bar and you'll see a noticeable similarity. It appears to be the same base recipe, the same quantity of nuts (albeit hazelnuts instead of almonds), and the orange oil is traded out for freeze-dried raspberries. So as far as taste goes, I'm expecting broadly similar results.
Interesting, the text reckons the bar contains 10% caramelised chopped hazelnuts, while the ingredients list begs to differ, citing 5%. The freeze-dried raspberry pieces constitutes 2% of the bar.
Inside the cardboard box is a sealed golden foil inner printed with the G&B branding. It's sealed at the edges to maintain freshness, but unless you have the touch of an angel, you'll need to decant the bar into another container if you wish to save some, as you'll tear the foil badly trying to get at the chocolate.
The bar is moulded into eight squares and one rectangle, all embossed with Green & Black's leaf emblem. The nutritional information suggests 18 grams - two squares or one rectangle - is a sensible portion size, so this bar should offer up five servings.
The initial aroma is very sweet, with notes of roasted hazelnut and raspberry fighting against the aroma from the Ghanaian cocoa. The ever-so-slightly-musky aroma of the 70% cocoa tries its best to shine through, but the hazelnut and raspberry tones are much more dominant.
There's a clean snap to the bar, and this really does help make it easier to portion.
As soon as the chocolate touches your tongue, there's a swell of sweetness that rushes in. The tartness of the raspberry follows next as the chocolate begins to dissolve. The zingy raspberry pieces are relatively large and this appears to facilitate them becoming the dominant flavour in the bar.
There's no discernable chocolate flavour though until the very end, after the crunch of the hazelnuts has past. The cocoa itself lacks enough depth to put up a fight, so there's a very mild chocolate taste here, certainly not what I'd expect from a 70% bar. A milk chocolate bar perhaps, but not dark chocolate.
The mellow, gentle cocoa flavour follows through into the aftertaste, but is yet again overpowered by the tartness of the raspberries and a very minor caramel taste from the nuts. Beware as tiny pieces of caramelised chopped hazelnuts and freeze-dried raspberry get in between your teeth so you'll spend a while afterwards fishing them out.
Overall, it's another disappointment. The raspberry is too powerful for the type of cocoa used, and so drowns out the chocolate flavour. The hazelnuts add crunch (and help to distract slightly from the chewiness of the freeze-dried raspberry pieces) but very little in terms of flavour.
If you love raspberry chocolate, and prefer a punchy raspberry flavour, you may well enjoy this bar. Personally, it's not a bar I would stockpile in my kitchen cupboard.
Since purchasing this bar, I think I've seen it in most supermarkets. The full Velvet Edition range can be found at Green & Black's online here°.
How do you think the Velvet Edition range compares to Green & Black's original range? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: I paid £1.50 for one 90g Green & Black's Velvet Edition Dark Chocolate Raspberry & Hazelnut bar at a Cadbury shop in an outlet village. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.