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If you've not heard of Lucocoa yet, you must have been hiding under a rock. Lucocoa is a London-based bean-to-bar chocolate maker and has fast made a reputation for itself creating high-quality, scratch-made chocolate made with cocoa beans, lucuma, and coconut sugar.
Founder Amarachi Clarke began exploring the art of chocolate making in 2015, and now hand-crafts batches of chocolate straight from the from cocoa bean in a quaint little kitchen, tucked beneath a railway arch in Bermondsey in South East London.
That passion for experimenting with chocolate is at the heart of Lucocoa's philosophy, and Amarachi and her team are not afraid to try new things. Which brings us on nicely to this white chocolate bar - that’s black.
Amarachi kindly sent me home with a trial bar - that she reckoned her customers deemed divisive - to see what I thought of it.
As this was an experimental chocolate bar the packaging was borrowed from other bars in the range. The outer box was a plain brown kraft cardboard skin. A large black sticker was affixed to the front of the box describing the product. The Lucocoa logo took pride of place above a strap-line of 'not naughty, just nice'. The item name, ‘Slate', derives from the colour of the bar, and the information about this product described it is a natural blonde white chocolate containing activated charcoal "for a truly incredible flavour".
Lucocoa Slate Charcoal Natural Blonde Chocolate Bar ingredients:
Cocoa butter, whole milk powder, coconut sugar, lacuma, activated charcoal. Cocoa solids: 40% minimum. Milk solids: 30% minimum.
There's nothing printed on the back of the box, and because this was an experimental bar, there wasn't any nutritional information available. However, the natural blonde white chocolate bar contained just over 33% sugars, so I suspect this chocolate is likely to be within a similar ballpark.
Inside, the chocolate bar is wrapped in a gold coloured piece of foil, making the entire packaging fully recyclable.
Lucocoa Slate Charcoal Natural Blonde Chocolate Bar Review
While black (white) chocolate is a rarity and still very novel, this isn't my first taste of black chocolate. Cast your minds back to the first pandemic lockdown and you may remember I reviewed Omnom Chocolate's Black n' Burnt White Chocolate from Iceland. Making use of activated charcoal, puffed, toasted barley and lava salt, they created a fun, quirky, and very distinctive bar that was by far one of my favourites in the box they sent me.
Amarachi's version sees her ever-popular Natural Blonde white chocolate spiked with activated charcoal but nothing else. No barley, no malt, no salt. Therefore, it makes use of edible charcoal for both colour and to play with the white chocolate flavour, while letting the raw characteristics from the cocoa butter come through.
Amarachi had warned me that this bar was as divisive as Marmite. Customer feedback appeared to show that people typically fell into two camps - those that loved it and those that hated it. Perhaps aptly for a black white chocolate bar, there were no shades of grey in the middle.
The first noticeable aroma I detected was that of dark, buttery caramel, backed up by a chorus of creamy, lactic notes. A crisp snap was music to my ears, and that jet black colour was somehow irresistible.
The flavour completely contrasted the bar's appearance. I had expected rich, dark, perhaps earthy flavours, but instead it was zingy, and almost floral in nature. Yellows and greens would perhaps better suit this bar than jet black.
As I let the smooth white chocolate melt on my tongue, a wave of creamy, caramel notes flood in, together with a hint of vegetal notes. It's certainly a unique, fresh flavour, and while I can understand why the unusually-placed vegetal notes from the activated charcoal might have put some people off, I think it works well here. It's certainly an unusual chocolate flavour and while it's not destined to become a firm fan favourite, I think it deserves a cult following by those, like me, that enjoy chocolate flavours that push the boundaries.
Unusually for a white chocolate, it's not a bar that I wanted to wolf down in next to no time, but instead I felt compelled to treat it like other bean-to-bar chocolates - little and often for maximum enjoyment. This is a white chocolate bar with a dark side, and I love that.
Lucocoa Slate Charcoal Natural Blonde Chocolate Bar Review
RRP: £5.30 | Lucocoa | Shop now
Black white chocolate. If that's not enough to convince you to try it, then the fact that it is a bean-to-bar chocolate hand-made in London by people who really care about their ingredients should do it for you. The activated charcoal adds an interesting vegetal dimension to the ever-popular Natural Blonde white chocolate bar. It's the Marmite of the chocolate world, but if you enjoy trying unusual flavour combinations, this needs to be on your radar.
Where to Buy Online
You'll likely need to take a trip to the deliciously fragrant kitchens squirrelled beneath a brick railway arch in Bermondsey, London, to find this experimental chocolate bar. It's not available on the website here, but you can contact Amarachi to check what creations are currently available to order for delivery if you can't easily reach London.
Sadly, the legendary handmade giant chocolate bourbon biscuits (pack of 3; £4) weren't available during my visit, but they have quickly become a bestseller according to Amarachi. If they're in stock, grab a pack while you can, and let me know in the comments below why I need to get my mitts on them asap.
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Charcoal and chocolate - would you give it a go? Let me know in a comment below.