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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Lindt Excellence Mint Intense

Lindt Excellence Mint Intense 
Posted: 10 November 2010    7.0 
With this mint bar -- and not just Lindt, but Lindt Excellence -- I felt betrayed. The copy on Lindt's site conveys a premium chocolate with premium ingredients. Premium artificial flavoring isn't what I had in mind.    
Avg price/gram: USD 0.033   Cocoa %: 47  Size: 35g  Swiss chocolate 

Lindt Excellence.  Another range in the Lindt line which is, at my best guess, supposed to taste excellent.  If horrifying were Lindt's intention, the line could've been called Lindt Repugnance.  Lindt even set up their own dedicated web site for this range (far from excellent when I checked it -- the domain didn't resolve) , and they're proud to tell you that Excellence is "all about selecting and roasting cocoa beans and the art of creating distinctive and delightful chocolate tastes profiles [with this] gourmet chocolate that is prepared by selecting the world's finest cocoa beans and creating the finest textures." 

For the Chocolate Republic, I had previously tasted the Excellence 99%.   That bar wasn't for everyone.  The Excellence range also comes in 70%, 85%, 90%.  In fact, I thought all the Excellence bars were ones made with ultra high cacao contents, and that's not true.  My girlfriend brought home a tiny 35 gram bar of the Mint Intense, containing only 47% cocoa solids, well below my impressions.   This bar looks so tiny next to the Excellence 99%, but it's just a packaging gimmick.  The Excellence 99%, at 50 grams, is packaged to make it look like it's 100 grams.  

Full disclosure as always at the Republic:  mint is not my favorite.   I actually like mint a lot -- in gums, ice creams from time to time, in tea, in alcoholic beverages.    I just don't think it adds much to chocolate.  Okay, I used to think that way.  Since I founded the Chocolate Republic, I've had some very tasty mint combinations that have opened up my mind to its greater possibilities.

Several weeks back, I had the pleasure of eating Green & Black's Mint Fondant.  This wasn't your typical mint bar.   The organic dark chocolate was stuffed with creamy mint filling, a delicious combination.  Lindt opts for the more typical mix with their bar.  The bar is infused with natural peppermint oil.  I think the creamy mint filling worked better for G & B's bar because G & B was using 70% cocoa solids which can taste quite bitter on their own.  Since Lindt is only using 47% in this very thin bar, a creamy filling would not only be impossible but overkill as well. 

When I rated G & B's mint bar, it was the best mint bar I'd ever sampled.  This Lindt bar provided some pretty viable competition, however.  Taste-for-taste, I'd consider them equal.  Given the nearly identical prices and the fact G & B's is organic and crafted from higher cacao content (making it higher in antioxidants), I'd be more inclined to pick G & B's.  Discovering something relatively shocking about this Mint Intense bar led me to lower its rating somewhat and would make me all that more eager to choose G & B's on nearly every subsequent visit to the choco-market.   On the import my girlfriend bought in Thailand, underneath the Thai import sticker was the bar's ingredients in English.  The second-to-last ingredient was "natural peppermint oil" and the last, "flavouring."   Probing further on Lindt's American web site, I saw that this last ingredient was listed as "artificial flavor."   Different food labeling laws in different countries allow Lindt to get away with calling it something innocuous in some places.

Artificial flavoring?  This wouldn't have caused a flicker of the eyelid if the brand name were Cadbury, Hershey, Meiji, or Nestle.  None of those are premium chocolate brands.  With this mint bar -- and not just Lindt, but Lindt Excellence -- I felt betrayed.  The copy on Lindt's site convey a premium chocolate with premium ingredients.  Premium artificial flavoring isn't what I had in mind.  I lost all respect for the bar.  There are no excuses for this.  Lindt's been in the chocolate-making business for over one-hundred and fifty years.  Couldn't Lindt have added 10 to 15 American cents to the price of a 100 gram bar and devised an all-natural way around the flavoring issue?  Yeah, if it mattered.

Dig in with a smile if you don't mind corners being cut.  Vote with your mouth and your wallet if you do. 

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Theobroma Dark Hazelnut from Australia -- 54% cocoa solids
 Ritter Sport Whole Almonds from Germany -- 30% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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Fascinating Ideas You Could Care Less About

  Switzerland has Lindt Excellence. It's Swiss chocolate, very dark chocolate, with 47% solids and an intense mint flavor. Like it? The Chocolate Republic with Doug at Doug's Republic reviews this great chocolate bar.