Happy Saturday lovelies,
Today’s post comes to you with special thanks to our good friend, Bill, and his partner, Red. Bill and I have had a close friendship for several years now, characterised by an interest in kink and an understanding of life with disabilities. Bill and I text one another most days, whether it be to discuss our most devious thoughts or to bemoan everyday life, we have a close and affectionate friendship which is occasionally studded with tormenting one another ruthlessly in between our more sympathetic texts.
The last time Bill and I caught up, he and Matt decided to torment me over dinner. We planned to meet up again in 2020, but in between a fire at our local Premier Inn and the coronavirus pandemic, that never actually happened. Not to be outdone, we are at least hopeful for this year.
This Christmas just gone, Bill and Red very kindly sent us this very curious bar of gorse-flower infused milk chocolate, however, included was a cheeky little reference to our “That Time We Tried..” posts, and naturally I had to ask myself, what am I to do? Well my lovelies, I’m not somebody who walks away from a challenge and I have a rather rapid typing speed so I knew that it woudn’t take me too long to respond to this challenge after all,
So I did.
The chocolate bar that Bill sent us is infused with bright yellow gorse flwoers, handpicked from the Cornish coast. Cornwall is in my heart, and anyone who knows me by now will know that I have a black-and-white heart. Although the location marked on the back of the packaging is lower down than I normally go (wahey!), it’s still Cornwall, and all of Cornwall is good to me. Here’s Mr Bee pin-pointing (get it?) my usual vacation residency on the map:
If you’ve ever seen it, gorse is quite a pretty plant to look at. If you’ve ever had the (mis)fortunes of getting up close and personal, this prickly shrub has spines about 2cm long which are almost guaranteed to scratch and draw blood. Growing to about a metre tall in some places, I’ve had the unfortunate task of retrieving a tennis ball from it’s depths on numerous occasions. With the vast open plains of the clifftops along the Cornish coast, it’s almost a given to see this shrub anywhere you look. It has a delicate, woody fragrance that mixes well with the crisp salt sea air. On a warm summer’s day, it really makes up an iconic part of Cornwall.
At a distance, gorse can look like an unassuming shrub, like this:
However up close, the flowers and the spines look more like this:
Can you see how sharp and in abundance those little green needles are? Not fun!
I wasn’t aware that gorse was edible, but the Cornish have some unusual tastes, one of which is my beloved yarg cheese. A lot of people think I’m crazy when I tell them about yarg, but it really is quite delicious! A semi-strong creamy cheese wrapped in stinging nettles, you won’t get it anywhere else.
Cooked stinging nettles. Don’t worry, I’m not that masochistic, just about 😉
Alright, enough fun and food facts. Let’s get onto the tasting!
Plastic-free, slavery-free, fairly traded.. there are a lot of pledges going on here! Having grown up around agriculture, equality and fair trade really matters to me. I know that there are some companies who do trade fairly and treat animals nicely, and others? Not so much. Still, the plastic-free packaging really impressed me most of all. More on that in a moment.
The outer packaging comes in two parts that interlock through two slots. It’s a bit tricky, but with a bit of force, it can be opened and reclosed just fine.
Inside one part of the outermost packaging is a description of the gorse plant and its prominence to nature and history. The simple graphics and gloss-free nature make this a nice touch. It feels luxurious, without the need for foils and embossed bits. There’s no foil here and yet, because of the printing and the attention to detail, you don’t actually miss them.
We loved the Larder Fact, too. Having been handsy with gorse plants on several occasions, they had my sympathies!
Another little reminder on the plastic-free packaging, I love and disliked this in equal measure. On the one hand, it’s great, but do we really need to be reminded twice? I’m not sure. A little secret? I studied environmental science for a while, but I dropped out because of the lack of disability support in college. I don’t generally get into political debates about the environment and the climate because of how volatile it can get. We’re reductarians, we use energy-efficient lighting, we recycle diligently and we don’t drive or take annual excursions abroad. Of course we can all make improvements, and I do think plastic-free packaging is part of that. Kudos, Chocolarder!
Okay, so we liked the embossed cocoa bean image on this bar. It’s not exactly unique or personal, but it’s still cool. What we also liked was that there are just tiny little imperfections in the bar here and there. It has that handmade quality to it, and we’re big fans of handmade and personal touches.
The text on the outer sleeve mentions a fragrance of coconut, and I wasn’t picking up any coconut fragrance here. With that being said, they do say that it’s infused into the bar, so maybe.
How Does It Taste?
When one thinks of chocolate bars and coconut, one immediately thinks of desiccated coconut or coconut flavour, but that’s just not the case here. It’s a very, very mild, almost coconut fbre flavour and I think, truthfully, it’s overpowered by the 50% cocoa. The cocoa is great, but it does overpower the other flavour that’s trying to come through. As chocolate goes, it’s luxurious, but for the painstaking process of picking the gorse flowers, we didn’t think it was that noticeable.
There’s a lot to love and a bit to dislike here. Again, we loved the plastic-free packaging and the handmade quality of the product. The graft that goes into this product is great, but any not-mass-produced product normally is, simply because of the time and dedication involved.
As a chocolate bar, it’s definitely something that you would buy as a treat or give as a gift, and so in that regard, I felt like the emphasis on plastic-free packaging was a little bit lost. It feels luxurious because it is, hut in order to make an impact with going plastic free and slavery free, we really need to push the big names to make the big changes, rather than just the small, independent stores. After our tasting, we discovered that there’s no way to reseal the paper either, unlike the plastic wrapper on a bar of Dairy Milk. Once it’s torn open, they only extra protection is the cardboard outer sleeve which needs to be slotted together with the other part of the outer cardboard sleeve, and which is not air or moisture tight because of the hole on the front of the packaging design. Again, dare we say it, but we felt like Chocolarder were putting themselves up to a challenge here. In order to be as good as or better than the big names, you really need a robust chocolate-storage solution.
Would we buy it again? What Matt and I really wanted to see was a Chocolarder Cornish sea salt bar. Cornish sea slat is available in large tubs in most stores, and it really is something to capture and take a hold of. The milk chocolate component in this bar is splendid and would be complimented well with Cornish sea salt, but unfortunately, the coconut flavour from the gorse flowers just isn’t really there.
Alright lovelies, I hope you enjoyed this taste testing and be sure to join us later for something a little bit darker. Thankyou again to Bill & Red for this wonderful and thoughtful experience!
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,
Helen & Matt xx