While Easter is a religious celebration, people all over the world associate the holiday with something else too – chocolate! The tradition of eating chocolate eggs at Easter first started in 19th century France and Germany, as a twist on the Christian tradition of giving children painted eggs on Easter Sunday.
Nowadays, supermarkets around the world are filled to bursting with Easter eggs in the run up to the holiday. However quantity often trumps quality, and sugary, low-cocoa eggs can make up the majority of boxed sweets stacked up in the stores.
We all know that feeling of eating too many cheap supermarket Easter eggs, so if you want to try something different next time you have a craving for cocoa, keep reading.
We tried six different chocolates from six different countries around the world – read on to see what we thought of them.
Lindt & Sprüngli, often referred to simply as Lindt, is probably the most famous confectionary company to come out of Switzerland. And with origins dating all the way back to 1845, they really have set the standard for the internationally renowned Swiss chocolate market.
We sampled the Lindt Excellence Orange Intense Dark with Almonds. This is a sleek tablet of fine dark chocolate, flecked with pieces of dried orange and almond. The chocolate isn’t too dark at 48% minimum cocoa solids, tasting more sweet than bitter, so it may win over any dark chocolate haters.
The crunchy almond slivers and crystallised orange pieces, worked well with the velvety dark chocolate, providing a pleasing range of textures. Overall, this was a deliciously rich bar, and a grown-up take on the classic chocolate and orange combination.
Hershey Chocolate Company was founded in 1894, making Hershey’s (as it is now known) one of the oldest chocolate manufacturers in the USA. The brand is a household name, and produces a variety of chocolate bars and other products including Hershey’s kisses and drops, spreads, and syrups.
We tried the classic Hershey’s Creamy Milk Chocolate, a slim bar of, you guessed it – milk chocolate! Branded as creamy, we certainly thought this bar tasted of milk – however the chocolate mixed with it was disappointing, with a grainy texture similar to hot cocoa powder.
All in all, a strong tasting, milky bar of plain chocolate, but if you’re a chocolate connoisseur this might not be the one for you.
Belgium is often considered to be one of the best chocolate producers in the world. In fact, their chocolate is regulated to contain a minimum of 35% pure cocoa – compared that to the USA’s 10% minimum of “chocolate liquor”!
For this chocolate-loving country, we tasted the 41% Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Bar from luxury chocolatier Godiva. This was a very smooth and milky bar, with a sweet taste. The small, crunchy hazelnut flecks provide a pleasing bite too.
This is a great bar for sophisticated milk chocolate lovers, combining milky cocoa with hazelnuts for a nutty twist on the classic flavour.
The second largest producer of cocoa in the entire world, chocolate is big business in Ghana, Africa and Divine Chocolate does it the Fairtrade way, being co-owned by the very farmers that produce the cocoa that goes into every bar.
We decided to try the Milk Chocolate Caramel Bar from Divine. Here, rich and buttery caramel is encased by sweet, smooth chocolate, creating a luxurious taste experience – it just melts in your mouth!
Overall, this is a delicious bar if you like sweet tasting chocolate, but don’t want to compromise on that quality cocoa taste.
The United Kingdom is well known for its quality chocolate thanks to big brands like Cadbury’s – but we thought we’d try something a little different. Hotel Chocolat is one of the country’s favorite chocolatiers, and is the only one to grow its cocoa on its very own plantation, Rabot Estate in St. Lucia.
For the tasting, we chose a Rocky Road Slab, an adorable mini bar covered in edible decorations. But don’t let the small size fool you – this chocolate bar packs a flavour punch! Puffed rice and biscuit pieces provide some interesting textures, alongside thick, quality cocoa with a long-lasting taste.
This chocolate bar is definitely one for the big kids out there – it’s a pleasure to eat, fun to look at, and tastes like the quality chocolate you would expect from Hotel Chocolat.
When you think of chocolate producers from around the world, you probably don’t think of South Korea. But Lotte Confectionary is one of the biggest producers of chocolate in East Asia; starting out with bubble gum, they entered the chocolate market in the 1960s, and had become the number one chocolate producer in Japan by the end of the century.
We tried the Lotte Crunky Crunch Bitter Chocolate, a milk chocolate bar full of crunchy malt puffs. These give a satisfyingly crunchy texture, however we found the chocolate to be too bitter, with a slight cocoa powder aftertaste.
However if you prefer your chocolate less sweet, and want a new twist on the classic bar, the Crunky Crunch might be your new favorite.
So that wraps up our chocolate review! We tasted bars from the USA, Belgium, Africa, the UK and South Korea. It was a tough call deciding on one winner, so we agreed on two - Hershey’s, and Hotel Chocolat.
Half of us liked the mild, easy-to-eat taste of Hershey’s, and the other half loved the slightly mad yet delicious Hotel Chocolat bar. Regardless, we all feel like winners now, and will not be eating chocolate for some time.
We hope we inspired you to try something new next time you fancy a sweet treat, and to perhaps look farther afield when you’re on your next chocolate hunt.