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.
price/gram: USD 0.031
Cocoa %: 85
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
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
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
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.
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