* Prices may differ from that shown
I can honestly say that I have never tasted better chocolate than Green & Blacks, and I felt that the £1 I paid at the co-op was a very reasonable price indeed. This was a Special Offer on the 100g Maya Gold Dark Chocolate Bar, which is 55% cocoa,and the label informs us it is infused with a twist of orange and delicate spices.
My reason for purchasing this bar was that at the moment I am trying to eat healthy, I have been intending to do this since New Year, but as I have a talent for putting things off ,have only recently got started, and am definitely starting to feel the benefits.Well, a few squares of chocolate per day is a bit of a treat, and chocolate especially dark chocolate has now been found to be very good for the heart, so its better than raiding the biscuit barrel again.Have so far managed to stick to a few squares a day, so I am really appreciating this luxurious chocolate bar which I keep to myself in the car ( I know that sounds a bit weird)
The chocolate is very attractively packaged.with a thick shiny outer paper wrapper in a burnt orange colour topped with dark brown. The wrapper has gold lettering and there is a G&B Watermark which underlies the gold lettering.There is a gold coloured inner wrapper, and as you open the bar up you are met by the most gorgeous chocolate smell,with a sharper though faint undertone of the orange spicy ingredients.The chocolate itself is a smooth deep ,deep brown,in small squares, each imprinted with a leaf logo.My only doubt about this extravagent presentation is that it seems rather wasteful for such an ethical company, although the label tells us it can be recycled.
Anyway, who are Green & Blacks? The label says that the name was chosen to illustrate the blend of ethics and intense taste which they stand for.Green represents the sustainable and ethical principles employed by the company, and Black represents the colour of the original Dark chocolate bar, and the intense taste of all their chocolate.I must say that the taste is superb,as long as you are a fan of dark chocolate, its the best I've tasted, and the hint of orange and spices is really delicious to my tastebuds.
I went on to the company website and learned that the company was set up in 1991 by Craig Sams and his wife Josephine Fairley.Maya Gold chocolate was the first product to be awarded the Fairtrade Mark by the Fairtrade Foundaton UK. It is fully organically certified.On September 1st 2003, the Maya Gold Project as set up in order to turn Toledo Cocoa Growers Association into a viable self sustainable organisation.
I also had a quick look onto the National Geographic Website, apparently there is evidence that chocolate was drunk by the Mayan people over 2,600 years ago , and the cocoa bean has been traditionally cultivated in Belize since that time.Nowadays demand is so great that some cocoa is also used by Green&Blacks from the Dominican Republic.
I was surprised to find that since 2005 Green & Blacks has been owned by Cadburys, though run as a seperate company. Recently ofcourse Cadbury has been taken over by Kraft, it seems unclear what effect this will have on Green & Blacks! Hopefully this won't affect the Mayan farmers.
The Nutritional Information on the pack is as follows:Typical values per 100g.
Contains milk and soya ingredients
May contain traces of nuts and cereal
This chocolate is suitable for vegetarians.
As I have gotten older I have discovered the joy of dark chocolate something that I never enjoyed when younger preferring the milkier sweeter milk chocolate, I have not given up on milk chocolate and still regularly attempt to eat my body weight in the stuff but now I like a small amount of quality over loads of average chocolate.
This is a solid bar of chocolate that you just crack open and get irregular chards of chocolate, I like to eat mine straight from the fridge so I always buy this to consume at home preferably with a nice mug of coffee. It is a dark chocolate with a mix of orange and different spics to give it a unique taste.
The dominanat spice that I could detect was cinammon, apparently there is also vanilla and nutmeg in it but the cinammon and orange flavouring combine well to slightly sweeten up the rather bitter dark chocolate. You cannot see the orange or spices they are blended into the chocolate.
The chocolate itself has a high cocoa content and is organic as well as meeting fair trade conditions as well so it is an ethical chocolate bar.
I do enjoy it and while you pay extra for Green and Black bars they last longer with me as I only ever crave a small amount with my coffee and never feel the need to scoff even half a bar in one go let alone the whole thing.
I have a bad habit of not liking to leave a shop without buying something. Usually I manage, even though it's a struggle, but with Charity Shops it's a little harder, and one lunch time, weary through lack of food, the Oxfam across from the hospital where I used to work grabbed me and wouldn't let me go until I swapped some coins for a bar of Green and Black's Maya Gold Chocolate.
The thing is, I didn't know that's what I was buying. The little letters didn't jump out at me quick enough, and I thought at the time I was investing in some of their regular dark chocolate which I've had before, and liked. This could have turned into a lesson on checking before you buy, but instead it turned into a lesson on trying new things, because the chocolate turned out to be a nice surprise.
My first impressions were that I wouldn't have expected a firm like Green and Black's to succumb to over-packaging, but they seem to have done as there were two layers to unwrap before I got to the bar itself. The chocolate looks quite dull, and my bar wasn't made up in easy-to-break segments, but it snapped into haphazard pieces easily enough.
Maya Gold is described as 'Dark Chocolate with Orange and Spices' which sounded dubious to me. Orange? Sure. But spices? In Chocolate? Um, ok. It sounded funny to me on paper, but turned out to be quite nice. The spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla) are very, very mild and add only a subtle flavour. The orange is also not overpowering, and the result is a bar that tastes like normal high cocoa dark chocolate, with a bit of a quirky kick. I liked it more than some similar products because the orange and spices were thoroughly blended into the bar, leaving a smooth chocolate behind, not one with bits and chunks like the Lindt bar that has orange zest / peel in it. The orange flavour is nice on its own because so few single portion bars are orange these days. The Cadbury's orange one is no more, and the Lindt ones are all big sizes - at least 100g. G&B do sell a milk chocolate orange bar which is nice, but more sickly than this one due to the mix of the sweet milk chocolate with the sweet orange. Substituting a bitter dark chocolate eliminates this.
It tasted like a good bar of chocolate for winter - you could imagine enjoying it with a hot drink, wrapped up warm on the sofa - and the fact that the bar smells like Christmas only adds to this image. It tastes, as most G&B products tend to, like high quality chocolate. I think this is partly due to the high cocoa content, but there must be more to it than that since their milk chocolate is also luxurious, and is much lower in cocoa than dark varieties. It's definitely a chocolate for adult tastes.
Green and Black's chocolate is suitable for vegetarians, fair trade and organic, and as such is sold at a premium. This bar is also suitable for vegans and the ingredients list is reassuringly short - just 6 items, despite it being a bar with 'added bits', not pure, simple chocolate. My bar was 39p, but it was a thin sliver of a thing - a very small, 20g bar (similar in size to the 'under 100 calories' range from Cadburys). The usual sized ones - about 50g I think, and similar in size to a standard Dairy Milk - are nearer to 70p. However, the increased price is justifiable for the quality of the bar you get, and the nice being-good-to-the-world feeling you get from choosing this over some mass produced alternative.
Green and Blacks have an ever-growing selection of bars and boxes of chocolates, and ice cream too, but very few stores stock the entire range. Generally vegetarian and health food shops will stock it, as will larger supermarkets. In addition, weird universities like Manchester where students seem to have enough free time to develop a conscience often have it in their Union shops (I, on the other hand, went to UMIST, where the techy types happily scoffed KitKats and other Nestle products while working all hours...) Add in charity shops like Oxfam, and you end up with half a dozen G&B outlets within walking distance of my former work place. Not good.
I think they should give out samples of this and other slightly obscure flavours (G&B offer butterscotch, ginger and raisin and hazelnut among others), since most people will try things that are free, and I'm sure many would, like me, become fond of this once they got around to trying it. It sounded like a weird mix on paper, but it turned out to be a tasty, unusual bar that I'll happily have again.
Interestingly, I now live in the land of the Maya, and they have nothing similar to this bar here. Hmmm.
Dark Chocolate with Orange and Spices