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Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate with Crushed Cocoa Beans Review

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Remember last year I was telling you about the cosy little Jeff de Bruges shop in South Kensington, London? I've written about the tasting carrés but those were not why I visited the store in the first place. I was after a chocolate bar.

One wall was lined with a bewildering assortment of bars in a multitude of chocolates, some with inclusions and others without. A genuinely helpful shop assistant steered me to bar number 12 - a 70% dark chocolate with crushed caramelised cocoa beans inside. £4.30 lighter and a few minutes later, I took home a bar, curious as to how bitter this "extra bitter dark chocolate" would turn out to be.


Packaging

The 80g bar was packaged in a colourful box with zigzags of whites, reds, and blues all drawing attention to the front. The packaging appeared to be geared around you finding a number you like, then searching by number in-store. Number 12 is way easier to remember on a quick nip into the store than "crushed Cocoa bean 70% extra bitter dark chocolate," don't you think?

Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate with Crushed Cocoa Beans Review
The bold packaging of the #12 chocolate bar by Jeff de Bruges

The reverse of the box featured black text on a solid red background, and the contrast, or lack thereof, made it difficult to clearly read the text.

The box contained text in English, French, and Spanish. Besides the ingredients and nutritional information, I liked the section that recommended other extra-bitter dark chocolate bars (numbers 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 15), as well as milk chocolates (numbers 2, 6, 9, and 14), plus number 10 which is an "amber chocolate" (blonde caramelised white chocolate).

Jeff de Bruges Extra Bitter Dark Chocolate with Crushed and Caramelised Cocoa Bean ingredients:
Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, crushed cocoa bean (7%), emulsifier (soy lecithin). Cocoa solids 70% minimum.

Sugars accounted for around 29% of the bar. The bar, made in France, was produced in a factory that handled milk, eggs, gluten, peanuts, sesame seeds, and tree nuts. While the box does not state one way or the other, I believe this chocolate bar to be vegan friendly.

Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate with Crushed Cocoa Beans Bar
A closer look at the red, white, and blue zigzags on the box

Inside, the bar sits inside a silvered plastic heat-sealed wrapper. While this maintains freshness, it also makes it difficult to carefully rewrap the bar to save the rest for later.


Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate with Crushed Cocoa Beans Review

The bar takes its shape from a 12-segment custom mould, with each segment featuring either the Jeff de Bruges logo or a phrase in English or French, such as "Tout est plus beau avec du chocolat!" or "chocolate makes you happy!". It's a fun and quirky.

Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate Bar
This chocolate bar uses a bespoke mould to create 12 segments

The forceful aroma reveals itself as soon as you unwrap the bar. Intense earthy, leathery, smokey, and woody notes dominate. A clean and crisp snap reveals the bar is laden with a generous helping of caramelised cocoa nibs.

On tasting, the flavour begins quite flat, with a muted cocoa flavour that's mildly bitter. Much of the earthy, leathery, smokey, and woody notes I witnessed in the aroma simply didn't translate into the actual flavour. I glimpsed brief lime, green tea, honey, and banana notes in the middle but they darted in and out of the flavour in a heartbeat.

Slogans on Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate Bar
Fun chocolate quotes in English and French or the company crest appears on each segment

The sweet cocoa nibs add a crunchy texture to the bar at the end, and there's a healthy dose of those in this bar. The finish of this bar is mildly sweet and bitter, with the same gentle cocoa flavour that it began with.

Overall, it was a pleasant enough bar but it lacked excitement. I loved the dark chocolate and cocoa nib combination as a concept, but think it needed a more characterful cocoa to really do it justice. I didn't find this 70% chocolate bar as bitter as others, so if you're someone who generally finds dark chocolate too bitter, this might be a dark chocolate bar you can actually enjoy.

Jeff de Bruges #12 70% Dark Chocolate with Crushed Cocoa Beans Review

RRP: £4.50 | Jeff de Bruges | Shop now

A good idea in theory, but I don't think the dark chocolate was expressive enough on the palate. The caramelised cocoa nibs add sweetness, and the bar itself isn't as "extra bitter" as the packaging suggests (which might be seen as a positive by some).

Packaging
Appearance
Ingredients
Taste
Creativity
Score: 3.8

Where to Buy Online

You can buy this bar online directly from the Jeff de Bruges (UK) website (£4.50). The London store can be found on Thurloe St, a few steps around the corner from the South Kensington London Underground station.

What's your favourite numbered bar from Jeff de Bruges? Leave your recommendations below in the comments for my next visit to London.

Disclosure: I purchased an 80g No 12 Dark Chocolate bar from Jeff de Bruges for £4.30. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.

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