The reason I got into chocolate can be squarely laid at the door of Lindt. If it weren't from them being pretty much the only chocolate brand that made dark chocolate available in the supermarket I hate to think my passion would have been. Growing up we would spend Saturday nights with whatever dark chocolate in Tesco had the highest cocoa content. The level of choice we have now compared to then pales in comparison. From recollection you could only get Lindt, Green & Blacks and perhaps own brand chocolate in your local store. Now of course, we now not only have a greater selection available to us, but also we understand chocolate far better.
To return to my 'roots' I thought it would be interesting to find out what the 90% was like. I actually wanted the 99% but I just couldn't justify paying £3.95 for the one bar of chocolate when I can buy the 90% from Sainsbury's at just £1.85.
The packaging seemingly hasn't changed in the past 20 years that I last gave some a go. It bought back memories of swigging sugar-free ginger beer and avoiding watching Casualty. And the flavour is just as boring. Of course there is some intensity, but what jumped out at me was the amount of vanilla present. They certainly felt the need to add some 'roundness' to the flavour profile.
Another aspect that is obvious to me, at least, is the cardboard part to the flavour profile I get with so much West African Amelonado which is often used by mass market chocolate companies when they try and produce 'intense' chocolate but at acceptable costs. If you think about it. Of the £1.85 you would be spending on it, 37p would be going to George Osborne, around 70p will be going to the retailer so that leaves around 78p to be split between Lindt, the transportation of the beans to Amsterdam and then on to their factory. This means a few pence actually goes to the country of origin and the people that grow the cocoa beans.
What I do like, however, is that they seemingly have a positive stance on the sustainability of the cocoa sources. Although they state on their website that they have ethical and quality standards such as adhering to 'Fair Trade and other sustainable cocoa label's, there is no information on the chocolate wrapping, itself, to indicate whether the raw ingredients comply with Fair Trade or any more ethical supply/agricultural programmes. What they do state on their 'sourcing our ingredient's page regarding the labelling options: 'we chose to build up our own cocoa sourcing model' which includes their own Ghana traceable project.
Without forensically reviewing this project and their other information I cannot validate their claims. But the level of information they give does leave me with confidence. And I would say that if you absolutely had to get some bitter chocolate from the supermarket then I would suggest that this is good option if ethics are a consideration. Your other option would be Co-Op and their Fair Trade offerings. I still have issues with Fair Trade, however.
But, does it actually taste any good? There are some high cocoa chocolate that does taste worse than this. That's undoubtedly the case, but at for the price it is good value. The issue is that there is so much better 90% chocolate out there - that doesn't contain vanilla.