Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Product reviews: Lindt 90% dark chocolate and Seed & Bean organic Dark Chocolate with Lavender

After alluding, on quite a number of occasions, to my chocolate purchases in England, I thought it time that I actually blogged some of them.

Today, we have Lindt 90% cocoa dark chocolate and Seed & Bean extra dark chocolate with lavender, both of which are dairy free and vegan.


To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect much from the Lindt 90% block. I thought it would be like the 85% cocoa block, widely available in Australia, but darker. I bought it with the belief that I could probably track it down in Australia if I tried hard enough, and as such nearly didn't bother with it at all. 


Such foolishness. I can only say, now, that the 5% cocoa difference between the 85% cocoa and the 90% cocoa blocks makes a world of difference. A world. I loved this block more than I have ever loved a plain chocolate block before.

My first bite saw me inhaling in surprise, and then with deep pleasure, and then closing my eyes in enjoyment, and then opening them again in wonder.



I don't know how Lindt does it, but suspect that the real vanilla bean might be part of the effect. The chocolate is surprisingly sweet for a 90% block, but it is sweet in an entirely chocolatey way - not cloying, or sickly, or even sugary. Just sweet enough to balance the cocoa, and to give a result that is all chocolate and all deliciousness and all delight. It tastes of more than chocolate but also entirely of chocolate. It is lovely.

Having discovered this, I am now doubting my initial (foolish) belief that the block is available in Australia. As far as I can tell, it isn't. And I find that very unfair indeed.



Where I had moderate expectations of the Lindt block, I had soaring hopes for the lavender chocolate. Ever since my adventures with lavender cheesecake and lavender cookies earlier in the year, I have been sold on the concept of edible lavender products. On looking at the website for the Organic Seed & Bean company, I also wish that I'd seen more of their range around. Seed & Bean are an English chocolate company that started in 2005, with a focus on organic and fair trade ingredients. Their other blocks include such flavours as lemon and cardamom dark chocolate and pumpkin seed and hemp oil dark chocolate, both of which I would have snapped up if I had seen them.



The lavender block is 72% cocoa, and uses lavender oil rather than dried lavender. The result is a smooth block, quite silky in texture and taste, with a subtle lavender smell and a strong lavender taste.

At first bite, the lavender actually seemed a bit too strong for me. This remained the case at second bite, and possibly even at third. Over time, though, the block grew on me. By the end (and I ate it spread out, so the end wasn't immediately after the start), I was a convert. 


It is difficult to accurately describe the taste of this chocolate. It is definitely floral, but once the initial shock of that wears off, the lavender balances nicely against the cocoa. There is no hint of bitterness, and it is also not particularly sweet. It is deep and mellow but with lavender, which isn't something I could have imagined before tasting it.


I don't think I will pine for this chocolate in the way that I may pine for the Lindt 90% block, but I am very glad I tried it and would be keen to try other Seed & Bean blocks in the future.

For another complementary review of Lindt 90%, see Hannah's 2010 post here. She found brownies and cookies in the flavour mix, which makes me even more keen to try it again!

Have you tried either of these blocks? And what are your thoughts on lavender in food form?

This post is part of my Vegan Month of Food contributions for October 2012. 

25 comments:

  1. I would like to nom both. the lavender is new to me. I am going to have to look for some.

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  2. Oooooh, I am keen to try the lavendar. Florals in food can be risky because they can tend to taste like soap, but if you get the balance right, they add an exotic perfume.

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    1. You are spot on - the wrong balance and you have soap, but the right one and things get quite exciting :)

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  3. Oooh, I now really want some chocolate! And I've never tasted lavender flavored food, but it sounds intriguing!

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  4. Some people believe that the reason we crave chocolate is purely cultural, while others believe that the body craves chocolate for physiological reasons such as a need for magnesium. There is also the belief that the craving for chocolate is purely addictive in nature.

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  5. Hmm...Lavender in chocolate doesn't sound amazing to me, but I've been surprised by odd flavor combos in the past, so I bet it'd be worth a try. : )

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    1. I tend to find most chocolate combinations worth a try at least once ;)

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  6. Oh wow!! I love trying food from supermarkets in other countries! The shame is when you love something and then can't get it again :( I do like lavender in food, especially in strawberry jam!! yum!!

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    1. Now you have convinced me that I need to try lavender in strawberry jam! What a great concept.

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  7. I love, love, love the 90% Lindt (I have a feeling I reveiwed it ages back, but am too scared to look for I know the photos will be horrid), precisely because of how the vanilla makes the darkness sing. And guess what? It's everywhere here in Toronto ;)

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    1. I linked to your review at the bottom of my post :-) It's in italics though so possibly easy to miss...I've taken to searching your blog before publishing chocolate-focused posts because so often you have reviewed the blocks in question. I was thrilled that you liked ti as much as I did - and I'm also thrilled for you that it is in Canada!

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    2. Oh my gosh! My brain clearly jumped from the non-italics to the bold-italics and missed my own name!! How silly. Oh gosh, I'm so honoured by your comment about checking my blog! *blushes*

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    3. Well deserved dear Hannah :)

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  8. 90%!! Haven't tried that one! Sounds wonderful though. I love the 85%. 99%? Far too much - I just couldn't haha.
    Heidi xo

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    1. I haven't tried the 99% but do confess to being a little scared of it :)

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  9. I think we need to campaign to Lindt that we want the 90% chocolate here too. I would love it I'm sure - the darker the better! I've never tried lavender chocolate and I'd be interested to give it a try xx

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    1. I am all for campaigning Lindt! While we're at it, I'd have a word with them about the dairy in their dark Excellence bars, and also ask for their wasabi chocolate to come my way :P

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  10. I have had the lavender dark chocolate bend before and I love it! Subtle but not overpowering. I do not really enjoy the very high cocoa percentages ie; anything really over 70%, it is too bitter for my taste. The cardamon blend sounds fantastic!!!

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    1. The cardamom would be great to try! I used to find >70% too bitter but over time have found the very dark blends can actually be more enjoyable (to me) than the ~70% ones. Odd!

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  11. it does seem unfair not to sell the 90% lindt bar in Australia because I really want to taste it now - and I am interested in lavendar and chocolate - makes me want to bake with both - if only I had the energy :-)

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    1. Energy is a great challenge to pursuits of interesting flavour combinations! One day maybe :-)

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  12. Sounds like we need to do a vegan swap, I'll send the 90% dark chocolate Lindt if you send me sweet chili sauce :)

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    1. I would definitely be up for that! :)

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