“ Brand: Dr Oetker's / Type: Chocolate „
I love baking, and it goes without saying that all the best cake and dessert recipes have heaps of chocolate in them. When my usual brand of supermarket cooking choc started saying it might have gluten in, I reluctantly started looking for a new one, like the good coeliac girl I am. Which is how I came across this 'continental' chocolate.
Please don't be put off by the name- I know it sounds like some sort of quack remedy you'd find on the shelves of a hippyish health food store, but it's actually made by Supercook. Why they changed the name, I don't know, but Dr August Oetker was apparently a German doctor who started making baking powder 120 years ago. I'm guessing Supercook have gone back to their roots to try to give their products that family feel, although 'Dr Oetker' doesn't really conjure up happy pictures of home baking in a country kitchen to me.
Anyway, on to the product. It's wrapped in pale blue, 'widely recycled' paper, underneath which is a layer of foil to keep the chocolate fresh. The big plus for me is that it's completely gluten free, and it's also suitable for vegetarians, although it may contain traces of nuts (what doesn't, these days?!), milk and soya. The back of the wrapper also helpfully gives us some 'hints and tips' for using the chocolate, the main one being that 'melted chocolate is a perfect covering for cakes and desserts'. Well, you don't have to be a doctor to figure that one out.
A 200g bar of this set me back £1.95, but you can also buy this in a 150g bar. It's good to have the option, as you can choose the size of bar according to your recipe, so you don't end up with a load of leftover choc mouldering away at the back of the cupboard.
Like most cooking chocolates, this one can be heated on the hob (preferably in a bowl on top of a water-filled pan) or in the microwave. The chocolate is quite easy to break, despite the chunky size of the 200g bar, so you needn't break any nails on this.
The chocolate contains a 51% cocoa solids minimum, so it's not as bitter as most dark chocolate. I've heard from chocolate connoisseurs that a high cocoa solids percentage is an essential element of a good quality chocolate, so we can assume that they'd be disappointed with this one. However, my tastes aren't quite so refined, and I quite like the sweetness of this product. It's somewhere between your average milk and dark bar, which I think makes it ideal for baking with, as you get the rich, chocolatey flavour without the bitterness that some people don't like.
Eaten on its own, this probably wouldn't be very appetising- it hasn't got the creamy luxuriousness of ordinary chocolate, although its darkness means that it doesn't have that horrible fake Dairy Milk flavour that you get in most milk chocolates. I'd certainly stick to using this in cooking. I've made a lot of cakes, brownies and mousses with it, and it's done me proud every time. It's rich enough to hold its own amongst the other flavours in a cake, but it's not overpowering. It also makes for a delicious hot chocolate when melted into warm milk, the only problem with this being that ordinary drinking chocolate will seem decidely ordinary after making it this way.
I'm perfectly happy with good old Dr Oetker, and will continue to buy this cooking chocolate as my brand of choice. 4 stars, as it's not absolutely terrific, but still a good buy.