Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, honey, honey oil, soy lecithin
This May I was back in Germany and again visited the small city of Osnabrück, home to Leysieffer and its interestingly-flavored bars. Last year I tried their 55% cacao with pink peppercorns, rose oil, cardamom, and elderflower, and this year I brought back five more flavored bars and one plain one. As I did then, I'm focusing on flavors that are new to me, at least as chocolate additives, so even if you can't get your hands on Leysieffer anytime soon, it might be fun to hear about these funky combinations.
Corporate Info: Leysieffer was founded in 1909 and began making chocolate truffles in 1936. The company is still family-operated, but it now includes 19 confectionary shops throughout Germany as well as a half dozen “bistros” serving cake and whatnot. And if you're really curious, you can order its products online.
Today's Bar: Honey! Germans seem to be into honey, relatively speaking—not that it's everywhere, exactly, but the typical hotel breakfast buffet spread of breads, cheese, meat, jams, and so on always includes honey of some sort, and in Cologne I walked by a store whose entire stock was honey-related. So while I didn't see a lot of honey-infused chocolate floating around, neither was I surprised to find it as a flavoring in Leysieffer's large product line. As with all the flavored bars I'm reviewing, this is in 55% cacao. Also note that the “honey oil” in the ingredients list seems to be some sort of essential oil, not a honey-dosed vegetable oil or, obviously, oil in the drug-related sense that you'll discover if you Google the phrase.
Appearance: Aside from a few bars with inclusions, Leysieffer flavored bars in 55% cacao look more or less the same, a semi-glossy, very medium brown with a warm, yellow-orange undertone.
Smell: Mild, with a light, complex sweetness.
Taste: As I knew from last year, Leysieffer's dark chocolate base is mild, smooth, and sweet, not a challenging base to the flavorings it uses. So, more importantly, what about the honey? It's not strong, but more a particular take on the sweetness common to any (not-too-dark) chocolate. Imagine several sweeteners—say, honey, maple, cane sugar (white, brown, raw, whatever), and some artificial sweetener—and how, if you mix each into a cup of coffee or yogurt, it ends up sweeter but with a slightly varied perfume, which may or may not work with the other flavors and be what you want in that moment. This bar basically tastes like a fairly sweet dark chocolate, but with a touch of the succulence of a light honey. It doesn't do anything for me, personally, but it's a rather innocuous take on flavoring chocolate.
Honey + chocolate conclusion: Fine, just a slight variation on a usual sweetish dark bar. However, Leysieffer's version uses quite a light honey, and I'd be curious to try a more robust take on the combination.