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When I make chocolate brownies, I typically head to my local supermarket and pick up 300g of single-origin own-brand chocolate. A good 70%+ bar really makes the difference between an okay and highly addictive chocolate brownie.
When I visited my local Lidl store a while back, I spotted a trio of J.D. Gross single-origin chocolate bars at a pocket-friendly £1.12 per 100g bar.
As research for my next brownie bake, I decided to pick up boxes from Madagascar and Peru to see what they were like. There was also a box of single-origin Grenada milk chocolate so I picked this up too, just to see how it compares in appearance and flavour.
So, what's Lidl's single-origin chocolate like, and is it any good for eating and baking?
All three bars come sealed inside a brightly coloured cardboard box. Each features a gold-foiled J.D. Gross logo and the cocoa origin information is similarly styled.
The Madagascan box is decorated in reds, whites, and greens, and depicts a graphic of a lemur together with an outline of the country. The Peru box features more reds and oranges, and includes a depiction of a llama. The Grenadian box is perhaps the brightest of them all in a happy cacophony of yellows, greens and reds, together with a graphic of a butterfly.
Each box carries the Fairtrade logo on the front, and text that describes each bar as using the finest single-origin cocoa beans.
The reverse of the boxes is a little less exciting, but contains the obligatory ingredients list and nutritional information. The bars are labelled as suitable for vegetarians, and all three carry a warning that these products may contain nuts. It also mentions that all three bars are produced in Germany using single-origin cocoa from the respective sources.
Lidl reckons each 100g bar contains 10 servings, which feels about right, if a little optimistic. With a bit of willpower you could get six servings but realistically, I think we're looking at between two and four, as these chocolates are very easy to chow down.
Lidl J.D. Gross Single Origin Chocolate Bar Reviews
Unusually, each of the boxes opens up at the front like a book, revealing a bar clad in golden-coloured paper decorated with the J.D. Gross branding.
Remarkably, all three of my bars survived the trek back home in tact.
70% Madagascar Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar Review
Lidl J.D. Gross 70% Madagascar Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, emulsifier (soya lecithins), vanilla extract. Cocoa solids: 70% minimum.
- Around 27% sugars.
- Sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 99%.
As I peel back the golden-foiled paper emblazoned with the J.D. Gross logo, I was surprised to find quite a lively aroma. Supermarket chocolate, even single-origin supermarket chocolate, has a reputation for being lacklustre. Is this the bar that changes that perception?
The aroma servers up notes of plums and jam, with just a whiff of smoke and hay. So far, so promising.
The chocolate is quick to melt but slow to yield any discernable flavour. After a while, a creaminess coats the palette with vague cocoa notes coming into play. To its credit, there's a surprising lack of bitterness here. But, there's also little in the way of nuances that you'd expect from a good-quality single-origin chocolate. There's a hint towards chocolate brownie, which follows through into the aftertaste, and indeed, this is a bar I'd use in a chocolate brownie recipe.
Lidl J.D. Gross 70% Madagascar Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar Review
RRP: £1.12 | Lidl | Shop now
A promising aroma that suggests excitement but the flavour doesn't live up to expectations, with vague chocolate brownie notes throughout. Personally, I'd use this bar to bake chocolate brownies. It's easy enough to eat, but it lacks excitement.
60% Peru Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar Review
Lidl J.D. Gross 60% Peru Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithins). Cocoa solids: 60% minimum.
- Around 38.5% sugars.
- Sugar and cocoa traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 99%.
I had high hopes for the Madagascan bar, so lowered my expectations for the Peruvian bar. I was suprised to find more in the way of aroma, with notes of red fruit, plums, and a more pronounced smokiness as I peeled back the paper.
At 60% cocoa solids, this is noticeably sweeter than the Madagascan bar, and it's also creamier. There's a subtle smokiness in the flavour, and it tries desperately to nod towards green herbals notes, vanilla, and coconut. It's more satisfying overall, and the aftertaste is a rich tapestry of sweet, creamy cocoa flavours. It's an easier to eat bar compared to the 70% bar. Again, it lacks the nuances I'd expect to find in a craft-made Peruvian chocolate bar, but I'd happily munch on it in front of the television. It would also work well in a hot chocolate, melted into a mug of hot semi-skimmed milk.
Lidl J.D. Gross 60% Peru Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar Review
RRP: £1.12 | Lidl | Shop now
A more characterful chocolate compared to the Madagascan bar, but it still lacks the depth of flavour I'd expect to find in a similar bar by a craft chocolate maker. It's still a good snacking bar, nevertheless, and is a good starting point for a home made hot chocolate recipe.
46% Grenada Single Origin Milk Chocolate Bar Review
Lidl J.D. Gross 46% Grenada Single Origin Milk Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cream powder, emulsifier (soya lecithins), vanilla extract. Cocoa solids: 46% minimum; milk solids: 18% minimum.
- Around 39.5% sugars.
- Sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 80.5%.
This is the only milk chocolate bar in the range and it heralds from the Caribbean island of Grenada. As I peel back the paper wrapper, caramelised milk notes rise from the bar, with buttery aromas close behind.
Caramel and butterscotch flavours lead in the tasting, with pronounced lactic notes too. The creamy-caramel-butter notes lead and continue right through into the aftertaste. It's here the flavour is augmented slightly by notes of vanilla and toffee.
Overall, this one's a very sweet bar, and very easy to mindlessly chow down, so is ideal as a guilty pleasure. Its caramel and butterscotch flavours make it a bar that you'll keep dipping into, so it won't last long.
Lidl J.D. Gross 46% Grenada Single Origin Milk Chocolate Bar Review
RRP: £1.12 | Lidl | Shop now
If you love milk chocolate with strong caramel, butterscotch and buttery flavours, then this is for you. It's a sweet bar, and ridiculously easy to demolish without realising. It's ideal as an indulgent treat or when you need a pick-me-up.
Overall, I had high hopes for these single-origin chocolate bars, and I'm not sure they delivered. The Madagascan bar feels a bit flat, while the Peruvian bar had more life and character. The Grenadian bar delivers a sweet hit of caramel flavours for those with a sweet tooth. My pick of the range is the 60% Peruvian dark chocolate bar. I think it hits the right balance between sweetness and flavour profile. If you've not tasted single-origin chocolate before, these bars are a pocket-friendly way to test the waters. If you can detect the differences in the flavours, and enjoy detecting the individual nuances, then I urge you to springboard into single-origin chocolate bars made by these bean-to-bar chocolate makers.
Where to Buy Online
You'll find these bars in the chocolate aisle in your local Lidl. They're priced at £1.12 per 100g bar but occasionally appear on offer.
Online, eBay is perhaps your best bet in tracking these down, although the prices will likely be greater than in Lidl (and you may have postage costs to factor into the equation).
J.D.Gross Belgian Chocolate Sea Shells Original Chocolate 1pc 250g, 2pc 500g
£2.99 + £3.45 postage
Would you consider buying a supermarket own-brand single origin chocolate bar? Let me know your thoughts in a comment below.