Monday, October 18, 2010

ChocoLate con Aceite de Oliva Virgen Extra Bio (Organic 70% Cacao with Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

70g (2.4oz) bar
Ingredients: Organic cocoa, o. cocoa butter, o. cane sugar, o. extra virgin olive oil (5%), soy lecithin
11g sugar/40g serving (27.5% by wt.)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this Spanish bar other than a novel experience. The pairing of chocolate and olive oil is like coffee and cheese or prosciutto and salsa, two gastronomic powerhouses that arise from different parts of the globe and don't sound quite right as a team. Then again, I guess chocolate and olive oil can both be creamy and rich, with an enveloping perfume and a distinctive flavor, so maybe they're not so far apart after all. Would that come across here?

The bar has a common, matte brown appearance, though the molding design is fairly interesting. Where this chocolate really gets me is the aroma: Mostly chocolate with...something else, something subtle and hard to recognize. It doesn't smell at all like the bottle of olive oil on my kitchen counter, and I bet that's because they're different types; the one in the chocolate strikes me as mouth-filling and buttery. This flavor carries through on first taste: The olive oil hits the tongue first, then as the chocolate begins to melt, that flavor melds with what turns out to be a very creamy, sweet chocolate, a good match for a rich-tasting olive oil. I find the aftertaste to be more of the same, mostly chocolate with some subtle variation, but another taster here felt it showcased the olive oil again.

Inevitable intrusion of personal taste: I don't like buttery olive oils. I figured olive oil flavors varied but were all good until I found myself recoiling from certain bottles, as the aroma and flavor struck me as overwhelmingly greasy, kind of like rancid oil. I thought maybe I just needed a better quality bottle until I found that some I liked some cheap varieties just fine. What I was reacting to was the particularly buttery type, which is why I have a big bottle of inexpensive grassy, fruity extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen and a bit of an aversion to this chocolate. That's not to say anything about its quality, because it really is luscious and creamy, and interesting in a quiet way I haven't seen before, and plenty of people like buttery olive oils. In light of this, I would love to try some of this company's other bars.

Conclusion: ChocoLate con Aceite de Oliva Virgen Extra Bio is smooth and rich and worth a try—unless you don't like buttery olive oils (or, obviously, olive oil in general). 

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