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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Tesco Organic Ecuadorean 85% Plain Chocolate

     
Tesco Organic Ecuadorean 85% Plain Chocolate 
Posted: 21 March 2012    6.5 
Tesco Organic Ecuadorean 85% Plain Chocolate The 85% dark, billed as "plain chocolate" to cover Tesco's ass in that the product may contain milk, is better than many a big brand dark I've reviewed elsewhere on the Chocolate Republic.  Their Ecuador 85% looks like it's keeping more than 85% of the tasters happy.  
Avg price/gram: USD 0.031   Cocoa %: 85  Size: 100g  British chocolate 
       


British retail powerhouse, Tesco, steps up to the plate again, offering the Chocolate Republic another organic fairtrade bar made from Ecuadorean arriba beans with their characteristically sweetly spiced taste.      

Back when I was a teenager, it would've been easy to discount in-house store brands as inferior to the specialists.  How could a Tesco compete in the chocolate market against the big boys like Lindt or Green & Black's?   Today, Tesco can.  In a 2010 blind taste test of 21 organic and fairtrade chocolate products in the UK, Tesco scored the #1 slot, ahead of Green & Black's.      

Should we be surprised?  Tesco isn't asking its shelf stocking staff to mix chocolates in a back room.  The Tesco chocolates are produced in Italy specifically for Tesco.         

These bars are evidently part of a larger country range Tesco features in its UK stores where the competition for fine chocolate is fierce.  Tesco can keep down the marketing costs for its in-house brands and be an attractive pick for chocophiles wanting good stuff without having to pay mucho dinero.  

I was impressed with the Ecuadorean Milk Chocolate.  The 85% dark, billed as "plain chocolate" to cover Tesco's ass in that the product may contain milk, repeats that success. It is better than many a big brand dark I've reviewed elsewhere on the Chocolate Republic.      

There is a controversy going on in Ecuador at the moment.  The Nacional bean, from which arriba originates, is decreasing in production to make way for CCN-51, a bean more resistant to disease and which produces higher yields.  Arriba, however, is known for the floral flavor profile, so all growers want to say they're selling arriba beans.  Normally, I would think any big corporation would be happy to play along with this charade.  They can boast to the public that they're selling the high quality stuff while pretending not to know they're actually buying the cheaper stuff.  If Tesco weren't going out on a limb to sell fairtrade and organic cocoa beans here, all of which require international certification, anyone would be prudent to question whether Tesco were offering the real deal.          

Does Tesco really care about Ecuadorean cooperatives, technical assistance for locals, and social projects "that make a real difference to [the farmers'] lives"?  Probably a little more than your political leaders care about the homeless, sick, and unemployed.   Tesco does care about giving its customers what they want, and enough chocophile consumers nowadays are proud to think they're ingesting their daily dose of antioxidants through dark chocolate and can feel all the better thinking they're helping poor Ecuadorean farmers and the environment.             

Tesco is the third largest retailer in the world.  They'd have been fools to skimp and cut big corners on their chocolate when they have so many comers entering their stores.  Tesco isn' t a risk taker.  Think of them like the director Ron Howard.  They'll always pull off something acceptable and palatable, without changing the world.  Their Ecuador 85% looks like it's keeping more than 85% of the tasters happy. 

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Salazon Sea Salt & Caramel from USA -- 57% cocoa solids
 Frey Coffee & Cocoa from Switzerland -- 30% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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  Tesco from the UK now offers its own brand of 85% chocolate. It's dark cause it's dark chocolate but may some milk in it so it's called plain chocolate. The beans are Arriba from Ecuador and the chocolate is organic and fairtrade, my man