These are notes I have been meaning to get posted for a while. I picked this chocolate up two Christmas' ago in Quebec City. Reviewed, notes taken, and then I took a break from reviewing for a while. Let's get back into it.
Chocolat Stella is Swiss chocolate company operating as part of Chocolat Bernrain. Manufactured in Giubiasco, Switzerland. A large Swiss chocolate company but with ranges focusing on bio and eco-friendly bars as part of their line up.
History via their website:
The God Quetzalcóatl, brought the cocoa to the world. That was his gift to the Aztecs.
About three thousand years later, in the year 1947, a lover of the "food of Gods" - Xocolatl - started to write a page of the Swiss chocolate history. Years of hard work in various chocolate plants taught Walter Müller to become a specialist in fine chocolate production. He decided to follow his chocolate dream and together with his wife Karin he started to produce chocolate in the 300 year old house of his parents. That particular type of chocolate was used to enrobe the typical Swiss whipes (chocolate coated egg-white mousse), which was a real consolation for the soul after a long deprivation period due to the war. It was a great success! The creative chocolatier became a businessman and posed the basis of the actual Chocolat Bernrain Group.
His eldest son Adalbert took over enthusiasm of the family. His father gave him full trust very soon and accompanied him actively for many years. In 1980 Chocolat Stella, a company based in canton Ticino, became part of the Chocolat Bernrain group.
Under Adalbert Müller the Chocolat Bernrain Group was able to build a reputation to be a reliable and a high quality manufacturer of creative chocolate specialties and sold them all over the world.
In recent decades organic, Fair-Trade, functional and Kosher chocolate specialties completed the group assortment.
Today Monica Müller, granddaughter of the founder, runs the company into the third generation.
This is a dark chocolate bar with chili from their organic chocolate line.
We started producing organic
chocolate more than 15 years ago, when only few raw materials were
organic certified. Today we can proudly say that our competence in this
field is well known world-wide. Our beautiful line "Organic by Nature"
is an example of the quality level and orginality we can achieve.
Our customers can benefit of the many advantages of working with us:
- GMO free
- No soy lecithin
- Wide range of 100% certified organic recipes
- Various formats, shapes and weights
- OPP foil bars wrapping
- Full assistance on your Private Label projects
- Various certification possibilities: USDA-NOP, Soil Association, Bio inspecta, Biosuisse, Ecocert, etc.
- Small production lots and great flexibility
- Possibility of having Fair-Trade added value
- Traditional manufacturing systems
- Environment friendly production facilities and packaging
No indication on their website and pdf pages about what cacao they are using for these bars or what kind of red chili's they are using. Just stamps on the label of certified organic ingredients.They are a fair trade company working with various plantations and I believe they work with El Ceibo as listed on their fair trade page.
We are pioneers of the Fair-Trade concept. We started working on the
first projects with our partner claro AG (at that time OS3) in the year
At that time only few visionaries dared to believe in the dream of a better life for thousands of communities around the world.
The success of the Fair-Trade concept is due to the fact that more and more consumers finally realize that Fair-Trade means equity, but also sustainability and environment preservation, resulting in a better life quality for the raw material producers, which also ends in a better quality of the products. Fair-Trade products are good for the conscience, good for the world and good for the palate.
Today, we are proud of our long-lasting partnership with different Fair-Trade and organic cooperatives in South-America, Africa and Asia. Together with them, we work on nurseries for new plantations, fermenting and drying process units for the beans, education for their personnel by teaching them quality improvement systems locally and in Switzerland. We also organize educational workshops in the fields for and with the cooperatives members.
The direct cooperation with Fair-Trade raw material producers and a close partnership with our customers, ensure us a short and clean supply chain and an accurate control on the products quality to the advantage of customers and consumers.
At the end it is a win-win situation, whereby all actors actively participate in achieving the dream of a fair World.
I am curious about two of their products. Bars of chocolate using Indian grown cacao and Baobab Tree fruit chocolate bars. Interesting concepts but still mass produced Swiss chocolate.I have my reservations about a lot of long standing Swiss chocolate companies. While the bio and organic ethics are to be admired, there is a flavor that I find on most European chocolate that tends to be creamy and milky even on dark chocolate. Especially from the larger, mass produced chocolates. It's very same-y and tends to lend to a hallmark of a region or country. This is a personal observation and a larger generalization about Swiss chocolate, but it still holds true for me after all these years of learning about chocolate.I wonder what that would do to impact the flavors of such interesting creations.
Organic by Nature Dark Chocolate with Chili
Type: Flavored bittersweet, 72%
Bean Varietal: Unknown
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, chili.
Sample Size: 100g or 3.5oz
Appearance: Medium thick tablet with individual non-monogrammed tabs. Lined tabs. Deep dark brown color, slight surface matting, muted and slightly shiny surface.
Snap: Nice firm snap, clean break lines, and an audible crisp snap sound.
Aroma: Almonds, lightly roasted, cream, cocoa butter, vanilla, and lightly smoky.
Taste: Almonds, sugars, a little fruity, creamy vanilla, then bitterness right up front, and mild tingle from the chili pepper heat, opens up into a nice spicier taste, roasted cacao and wood, a little earthy and musty, but very sweet at the same time.
Texture: Smooth texture, a little creamy, medium melt-time, nice thickness of the bar.
Kind of a boring surface. Dark chocolate color, a little flat and not too shiny, non-monogrammed surface, but great snap. Good thickness for the snap and clean break lines.
It smelled pretty good, but I thought it would not be as dynamic as it was on the flavor based on it's fairly basic aroma. Good, but basic.
Nice and spicy heat from the chili peppers. The sugars and chili pepper heat did interfere with it's cacao taste. It was very sugary for a 72%. Had a creamy vanilla taste and a little fruity up front from the sugars but I was most happy with it's heat level. Sometimes they can be too spicy, or barely any spice in it at all. For someone with a sensitive palate, I found it very spicy, yet perfectly tolerable. I am such a wuss about spicy food. But I liked this.
From what I could taste on the cacao, it's a little woody, and earthy with musty flavors. It tells me they used a South American cacao for this, but I can't pinpoint from where. The cacao flavors only lasted for a minute before the spice over takes the palate. It was pretty rich and sweet but not anything too spectacular. It had a nice bitterness and a creamy vanilla flavor, but not at all typical of a Swiss chocolate like I noted above. Definitely better than I would have expected.
They do a good job of spelling out who they are online with their company and bio ethics, I just wish there was a touch more information about this bar in particular. Where is the cacao from, and what kind of chili did they use. More and more companies needs to list the details of their ingredients.
This is easily getting melted down for drinking chocolate. Spicy and sugary. Will make for a lovely spicy hot chocolate with nothing added but scaled milk. (I haven't melted it yet. This sentiment is from my notes, but I still have the scraps and it's still holding up remarkably well.)
Final Score: 90.2