Sunday, July 25, 2004

Sara's Chocolate Review: The Chocolate Traveler (Bittersweet Chocolate Wedges)

As an experienced traveler to chocolate, I was a bit suspicious when I spotted The Chocolate Traveler on the shelf at Central Market. After all, I regularly travel with chocolate, and find a nice chocolate bar (or two or three) fits nicely into a purse or a backpack. But since fancy packaging is often just an excuse to charge a premium for good chocolate -- a premium I gladly pay if the chocolate is good enough -- I decided to give The Chocolate Traveler a try.

The "travelling tin" concept, while a fallacy, is the strongest point of this chocolate. It's a round tin with 16 pie shaped wedges in two layers inside, and a fancy deco style world traveller graphic on the cover. I chose the bittersweet variety (also branded as "carb controlled"...) which was 70% cocoa. This was probably a mistake, as "carb controlled" ends up meaning "sugar free with malitol." (Examining their website, I see they also have a normal bittersweet variety, which I did not see at Central Market. I assume the normal flavor has sugar instead of malitol.)

Bean Origin: none specified

Place Purchased: Central Market, North Lamar, Austin, Texas

Cost: $3.99 for 400 grams

Sight: Glossy finish, even coloring. 3/5

Smell: Earthy, not too sweet. Nothing special, however. 2/5

Snap: The wedges are about 1/2 inch thick, which is a bit thicker than I prefer. They snap in half cleanly, however, with an even break. 3/5

Taste: Taste was too sweet, probably due to the malitol. A bit nutty in flavor. 2/5

Texture: melts easily in the mouth into a creamy, smooth paste. The texture is very buttery -- this may be attributable to the malitol (usually used in liquid form) instead of more crystalline sugar. I suspect this chocolate would melt easily and evenly. 4/5

Final assessment: The gloss, smooth texture, and snap indicate a well tempered chocolate, but the flavor is too sweet and nutty. In this case, the chocolate does not live up to the packaging. However, for people looking for a sugar free chocolate, this is probably as good as you can find. 14/25

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