Blonde chocolate’s the hot new treat – So should you swallow the hype? FEMAIL puts gold confectionery to the test
- The popularity of blonde chocolate has soared 597 per cent over the past year
- A good blonde chocolate will contain at least 20 per cent cocoa solids
- Here, Libby Galvin gives verdict on a few of the best available to buy in the UK
When it comes to chocolate, blonde is the poshest new variety on the block.
Also called gold chocolate or ‘the fourth flavour’, it is made by heating white chocolate to higher temperatures than usual and cooking it for longer, until it undergoes what’s known as the Maillard reaction, giving it a warm beige shade and rich, toasted caramel flavour.
It was invented by accident, when a pastry chef for chocolatier Valrhona forgot he had left a bowl of white chocolate on the heat for hours. On his return, he found he’d created a new flavour.
That was almost a decade ago, but it is only recently that big brands have cottoned on to blonde chocolate’s existence, with its popularity soaring by 597 per cent over the past year, according to Mars Wrigley.
Libby Galvin gives verdict on a few of the best blonde chocolates available to buy in the UK – including Rococo Chocolates Blonde Chocolate Artisan Bar (pictured)
The brand recently released a sea salt and blonde chocolate Galaxy bar. Hot on its heels have come releases from M&S and a host of high-end chocolatiers, too. Now blonde chocolate is being hailed as the new salted caramel.
A good blonde chocolate will contain at least 20 per cent and often more than 30 per cent cocoa solids.
‘The sugar and milk solids caramelise, which offsets the sweetness a little,’ says expert Jennifer Earle, of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, adding that because of this, it may appeal to people who wouldn’t normally like white chocolate.
A true blonde bar must be toasted, not simply have flavours added to it. Words such as ‘caramelised’ are a good sign, but ‘caramel white chocolate’ should raise suspicion.
So which blonde tastes best? LIBBY GALVIN sampled a few . . .
Rococo Chocolates Blonde Chocolate Artisan Bar, £6.95 for 70g, rococochocolates.com
I choose to try this bar first because opening it is like unwrapping a gift — I love the embossed packaging. The bar is medium-beige, with a slight butterscotch scent. It melts beautifully in the mouth and tastes warm and deep, with notes of salted caramel. It’s very moreish. 8/10
chocoMe Entrée Blonde Chocolate with Maldon Sea Salt, Black Sesame Seeds and Creamy Sicilian Almonds, £8.79 for 110g, amazon.co.uk
Libby said chocoMe Entrée Blonde Chocolate with Maldon Sea Salt, Black Sesame Seeds and Creamy Sicilian Almonds (pictured) tastes like eating caramel straight from the Nestle tin
I tried to buy Valrhona’s original ‘Dulcey’ blonde chocolate, but it was sold out everywhere. So instead I bought this, which is made using Valrhona Dulcey as its base.
I don’t love the packaging, but within, it’s a lovely, high-quality blonde chocolate — and combines beautifully with the sesame and almonds added on top.
The blonde base tastes like eating caramel straight from the Nestle tin, although oddly it falls apart on the tongue into slightly cloying lumps. 7/10
SWEET AND SYNTHETIC
M&S Swiss Blond Chocolate Bar, £1.75 for 100g, ocado.com
Libby said M&S Swiss Blond Chocolate Bar (pictured) has a slightly sharp, synthetic aftertaste and is sweet
In the familiar M&S Swiss chocolate packaging, this smells like shortbread, and matches it in colour — the lightest block so far.
It tastes more like a Caramac bar (which is caramel-flavoured but has no cocoa solids at all) than a toasted white chocolate, and in fact, from the ingredients list, it’s not clear how much — if any — cocoa solids it contains.
It has a slightly sharp, synthetic aftertaste and is sweet, with a comforting note of cooked milk. 4/10
Explore Chocolate Pure Gold Single Origin Blond Chocolate, £5.50 for 100g, yumbles.com
Libby said Explore Chocolate Pure Gold Single Origin Blond Chocolate (pictured) has a slightly bitter taste reminiscent of scorched caramel from the pan
With a brown, greaseproof paper wrapper inside a cardboard sheath, the branding of this bar makes it look exotic.
The chocolate itself has a warm, orangey-brown hue and is shiny (as it should be — a sign it has been tempered properly, so the crystals in the chocolate have set correctly).
It has a brittle snap as you bite into it and a burnt, slightly bitter taste reminiscent of scorched caramel from the pan, with not a lot of cocoa flavour coming through — although it has 38 per cent cocoa solids. An acquired taste. 6/10
Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt, £2 for 100g, sainsburys.co.uk
Libby said Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt (pictured) doesn’t have an awful lot to distinguish it from a simple, low-cocoa-content supermarket white chocolate
From the description of this — ‘white chocolate with caramel and sea salt’ — it is not clear whether it has been made using the Maillard process, so perhaps it’s not a ‘natural’ blonde.
It is lovely and smooth and shiny to look at, but doesn’t have much of an aroma and you can’t taste the salt. There isn’t an awful lot to distinguish it from a simple, low-cocoa-content supermarket white chocolate. 4/10
Chocolate Moments The Gold Bar Blonde chocolate with cocoa nibs, £5.59 for 100g, yumbles.com
Libby said Chocolate Moments The Gold Bar Blonde chocolate with cocoa nibs (pictured) is buttery and seductive
This comes in a resealable brown paper packet with a window so you can see the tetrahedrons (triangular pyramids) of chocolate which form the sections of the bar — a little like a posh Toblerone.
It is a milky, toffee-coloured blonde with brunette lowlights in the form of cocoa nibs studded through the chocolate. It has a delicate, almost malty aroma but a rough texture.
The blonde chocolate is buttery and seductive, but the bitter tang of the nibs does dominate. It’s a sophisticated offering.6/10
Source: Read Full Article