I made a point of picking up a bar of Duffy's Chocolate when I visited this year's Chocolate Festival and it has taken me all this time to review it. Duffy's Chocolate or Red Star Chocolate Ltd are one of a small band of artisan chocolate makers producing their own chocolate in the UK. They are very particular about the type of cocoa beans they use - they may come from a single harvest or a single region but they are always single origin. This goes a long way to ensure that the beans are of excellent quality. However, as many Chocolatiers will tell you, chocolate is such a fickle product not only to work with but also in regards to taste and flavour. The same bar made with exactly the same beans may take on a completely different character the following year! Much like wine I suppose.
To achieve superb flavours not only require's excellent cocoa beans but also a certain degree of determination and patience, a good chocolate may take up to 50 hours to conch. This is where the chocolate Alchemist's take over to develop the individual tastes and aromas by crushing the cocoa between large granite rollers.
The Chocolate: This particular bar is handmade with cocoa beans from the beautiful Bocas Del Toro archipelago, Panama. If you've never been lucky enough to visit Panama, that includes me, then Google it and you'll see how beautiful it is. Stunning! A 72% dark chocolate a taste profile described as light cherries and liquorice with leather and raisins in the after-taste as long as it's not in the afterlife, as I read it!
The bar is so smooth and there is a coolness about it, almost 'glass' like in feel. My picture actually makes it look darker than it really is. The aroma is definitely leather rather than tobacco. The liquorice flavour comes through very quickly as the first chunk melts luxuriously in your mouth. I can't pick out the cherries or raisins but there is a slight bitterness towards the end. If I only had one word to describe this bar it would be delicious!
Well done Duffy for bringing us another great bar and at £3.50 for 80g you're spoiling us. In fact I'm amazed at the price! At the recent Chocolate Festival some companies were selling their bars for £6.00/100g. This one will be at the top of my Christmas list!
To buy join the queue! Joking, click here.