Videri Bean to Bar Chocolate Bars Reviewed
There are few things more satisfying than good quality bean to bar chocolate, and that is what I was hoping for from Videri Chocolate Factory chocolate. Videri make chocolate from bean to bar but they don’t stop there – they take it further making milk chocolate and adding inclusions such as sea salt and pink peppercorns.
In each box (the chocolate is carefully packaged in individual boxes) you get two bars. I love the expensive box each chocolate bar experience comes in and the quality labelling. Each chocolate bar is hand moulded to perfection and then wrapped in foil before coming to its final resting place of the thick cardboard box with a gorgeous ivory matt finish.
There is nothing in the box to tell you more about the company (I think a leaflet advertising other bars, extolling their awesomeness and maybe some info about the company would be just brilliant) so it is left up to the purchaser to learn more about this company from Raleigh, NC. The foil they wrap the chocolate in is so thick it seems like normal foil doubled or tripled. A sure sign, if the high quality box wasn’t, of absolute obsession with quality.
This is a group of people who are passionate about sourcing ethical cocoa beans (which apparently contain rocks, chicken bones and grenade pins as well!) and roasting the different origins to perfection. They don’t seem to be sticking to a single origin but are more focused on ethical chocolate and organic ingredients. I’d like to eat less pesticides too but I’m also not keen on eating cocoa moths so, you know, choices.
So to the bars! I have four to review here so I took it all in stages. Besides – how can you rush something so beautiful? Given that people are so fixated on percentages, I was intrigued by the lack of mention on the box so I went to their site for more info. It also didn’t mention origin, something Duffy, Askinosie and others advertise clearly. On their website, I learned that they use a blend of beans to get the flavour they want but no mentions of origins. Given how passionate they are about chocolate and the supply troubles I know about, I imagine they may have trouble getting supplied consistently. That just makes each bar an adventure!
Dark Milk Chocolate Bar – it doesn’t say anywhere what the percentage of cocoa solids I was dealing with in this darker version of the classic milk chocolate. The website informs me this is a 50% dark milk chocolate bar made with organic cacao, cocoa butter and sugar. The mouthfeel is slightly grainy as you would expect from a milk bar but the flavours are all over the place for me. I get a nuttiness with a bit of fruit trying to peek through a biscuityness before it fades at the end and leaves you with a sweet chocolaty aftertaste. The taste does disappear rather quickly but it is quite plesant. None of the flavours except the biscuit come through too strongly so this is a really easily enjoyable bar for anyone looking to try something a bit darker but staying with milk chocolate.
Sea Salt Chocolate Bar – This is a 60% dark chocolate bar again made with organic cacao, cocoa butter and cane sugar with the addition this time of sea salt. There is more of a nutty nose on this one and it is the first things I get. I then get a huge amount of acidity and a flavour of nibs coming through strongly. A tiny bit of fermentation comes through at times but its barely there and could be an element of the nib flavour coming through. It comes up really sweet for a 60% and isn’t what I expect in a cane sugar bar. Great bar for something who loves eating nibs but needs that extra sweetness.
70% Dark Chocolate Bar – a safely dark percentage, this bar is made with a blend of Central and South American beans but no indication of Costa Rica, Ecuador, etc. I’d love to learn more. This chocolate has to stand on its own based on roast and blend so it was interesting to try. The smell is earthy nutty and as soon as you pop it into your mouth, you get nuttiness, sweetness and a really smooth melt. There is a bit of a quietness in the flavour profile of this bar – everything seems muted as though it was a warm hug that kind of envelopes you and cuddles you but doesn’t squeeze you too tightly. There was an interesting speed to the melt but without a stand-out flavour profile it was so hard to just let go of the taste even with the clean finish. There is only the merest hint of bitterness at the very end with an ever so slight increase in dryness in my mouth but perhaps it was merely my body demanding a fine red wine to go with this chocolate. Very mild and middle-of-the-road I’m sure different batches will have different profiles.
Pink Peppercorn 60% Dark Chocolate Bar – this bar is the 60% of the sea salt bar but this time with pink peppercorns added into the chocolate. I could smell it through the box which was intriguing. Immediately you get that aggressive pink peppercorn (aggressive for a chocolate) up through your nose and the warming sensation around the palate. The peppercorns are the most dominant flavour, overwhelming the chocolate completely. Not my favourite bar but I know at least a few of my readers who will absolutely love this bar.
Overall these were interesting bars. They were all quick to melt, subdued flavour profiles and all of them were slightly sweeter than I was expecting. Clearly with a certain percentage of cocoa butter and sugar to the cocoa solids, there is a limit to what can be achieved with organic cane sugar but they seem to have taken it to the limit and make a sweet, quite edible chocolate bar that absolutely will have mass appeal in the Northern US and Canada as well as Scandinavian countries with their higher affinity for sweet chocolate. These bars are beautiful, high quality and well worth the price.