Sunday, 5 February 2012

Orange Mantra

Like most of the country Essex is snugly encased in a duvet of deep snow this morning.  Fortunately, this avalanche did not hit us until Saturday night otherwise our return journey from Suffolk may have taken several days rather than an hour!  However, that may not have been a bad thing especially as we were lucky enough to stay at Seckford Hall for a recent wedding.  You can't see Seckford Hall from the A12 as it is tucked in a hollow. I for one have passed this hotel on my way to Southwold for many years without a second thought. According to historians this Tudor building started to take shape in the 1530's but it may be even older than this. The parkland setting and building are immaculate and come with some low ceilings and flooring that wouldn't be out of place on a roller coaster!  The rooms are well equipped with all the modern conveniences that Henry V111 would not have enjoyed when he stayed over. However, more recent historic figures such as Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron (when he was just an MP) have stayed in these historic chambers.  We only had chance to stay for breakfast but it was excellent. For the healthy eaters there was an excellent cold buffet offering a gargantuan choice of dishes and if that was not your cup of tea there was a cooked breakfast for the more traditional. Overall excellent food and service from the team. I might not get to Southwold next time!  Ok, let's talk about chocolate.....

The Chocolate:  Orange Mantra, my last bar from Chocolate and Love. With Fairtrade Fortnight just on the horizon it is worth mentioning that Chocolate and Love have very green credentials.  Whilst they may not make their own bars they have spent a lot of time and effort to ensure their chocolate is ethically pleasing. They use 100% organic ingredients, there cocoa is sourced from small farms in Peru and The Dominican Republic, sugar is from Paraguay and vanilla is from Madagascar. Importantly there is no child labour. If any of these were not enough to make you want to buy their chocolate they also plant a tree every time you buy a bar! See for more detail.

65% Dark chocolate with orange oil 100g

Ok, I dropped it again!  Presentation in terms of packaging is stunning but I do find the presentation of the actual bar to be a bit boring but that's me being picky. Organic dark chocolate with natural orange oil won Gold-1 Star in the Great Taste Award 2011. According to their website the orange extract is the result of cold pressing the ripe fruit peels which are from Sicily and are organic.

The bar has a good snap and the orange oil aroma is not at all overpowering. The rich chocolate melts quickly freeing up a slightly bitter orange flavour which is well balanced with sweet dark chocolate.  The cocoa does well to battle against the orange and a hint of tobacco comes through at the end.  It just goes to show that sourcing the right ingredients makes all the difference between a good and a bad bar of chocolate.  I'm not a great fan of orange chocolate but this was very pleasant and enjoyable. Happy to award 8/10 for this bar. Buy online at Chocolate and Love at £3.20 per bar.

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