Dateline May 10, 2012 (New York City)
Swiss chocolatier Lindt is celebrates the opening of its flagship Lindt Chocolate boutique in the landmark Rolex building on Fifth Avenue in New York on May 10th.
The 1,245-square foot store is now open for business and features the entire array of Lindt chocolate offerings, as well as Lindt Chocolate Advisors to educate and guide customers through the full Lindt chocolate experience. The new store represents Lindt’s second Fifth Avenue location, one of the company’s nearly 50 retail locations, and signalss a period of growth and expansion for the company’s direct to consumer business.
To celebrate the grand opening, Lindt will be offering chocolate lovers a free EXCELLENCE bar with each purchase at the new flagship store on May 10.
665 Fifth Avenue at 53rd Street
At the Rolex Building
Aha! Lindt finally got it right and has started giving away their "Excellence" bars! It's about time they realized it's not worthy to sell to people. 3 nights a week we use it as a comparison to what we make (after all, it's what most people here in North America associate with "quality") and 3 nights a week I watch people spit it back out.
For those of you out there making your own chocolate, Lindt 70% excellence is a great baseline to use to compare. The cocoa powder they include adds astringency and grittiness, and the chocolate has a very nice "burned rubber" finish indicative of significantly over roasting their beans. (They call it a dark roast. I call it burnt - especially when I can create that exact flavour by burning ANY chocolate on my stove at home.)
well said brad :)
Thanks Brad... I haven't thought about this comparison...
Here in South Africa, Lindt is THE CHOCOLATE..... let's see what will happen next chocolate testing room!
What i find a bit "annoying" is that major company are now trying to "sell" the artisan feeling we (the real Artisan) give to our shops and clients.
Brad, when you say 'The cocoa powder they include adds astringency and grittiness', does that mean additional cocoa powder is added to the Lindt 70% excellence bars? The ingredient lists claims only chocolate and another bar I've seen mentions cocoa mass only.
I can't say that I'd throw the bar away or even refuse it if it was free. What I like best of the Lindt bars is that they are slim, like Valrhona's. I've struggled trying to fing slim molds (about 5mm thick) in several of the mold manufacturers. I heard it was because of bars easily breaking with slimmer molds being hand-moulded.
I have an excellent source who has assured me that cocoa powder is in fact added to the Lindt Excellence bars at the end of the refining period, to increase the intensity of the dark chocolate flavour.
With regard to your question about whether or not they need to disclose this, the answer according to the FDA is "No".
Here is an exerpt directly from the FDA's website:
|Sec. 163.111 Chocolate liquor.|
(a)Description. (1) Chocolate liquor is the solid or semiplastic food prepared by finely grinding cacao nibs. The fat content of the food may be adjusted by adding one or more of the optional ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section to the cacao nibs. Chocolate liquor contains not less than 50 percent nor more than 60 percent by weight of cacao fat as determined by the method prescribed in 163.5(b).
(2) Optional alkali ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section may be used as such in the preparation of chocolate liquor under the conditions and limitations specified in 163.110(b)(1).
(3) Optional neutralizing agents specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section may be used as such in the preparation of the chocolate liquor under the conditions and limitations specified in 163.110(b)(2).
(4) Chocolate liquor may be spiced, flavored, or seasoned with one or more of the ingredients listed in paragraphs (b)(4), (b)(5), and (b)(6) of this section.
(b)Optional ingredients. The following safe and suitable ingredients may be used:
(1) Cacao fat and cocoas (breakfast cocoa, cocoa, or lowfat cocoa);
(2) Alkali ingredients. Ammonium, potassium, or sodium bicarbonate, carbonate, or hydroxide, or magnesium carbonate or oxide, added as such, or in aqueous solution;
(3) Neutralizing agents. Phosphoric acid, citric acid, andL -tartaric acid, added as such, or in aqueous solution;
(4) Spices, natural and artificial flavorings, ground whole nut meats, ground coffee, dried malted cereal extract, and other seasonings that do not either singly or in combination impart a flavor that imitates the flavor of chocolate, milk, or butter;
(5) Butter or milkfat; or
Breakfast Cocoa is defined as:
There you have it. Any manufacturer can add cocoa powder to the cocoa mass, and simply call the lot of it "cocoa mass", or in Lindt's case "chocolate". Kind of deceiving, isn't it?
I'm surprised the FDA doesn't control the chocolate licquor labels more closely.
Anyway, I did the test today. Took a Lindt Excellence 70% and compared it with two of our own chocolate bars: an Esmeraldas and Piura blend as well as a peruvian Tumbes 65%). We used a Nacional de Chocolates - Santander 70% as a 'control' bar.
You are completely right, the Lindt bar is a complete disaster. It was shocking. Ranked the lowest among the tasting group.
It is clearly sandy/dirt tasting, with astringency being very present. I can't believe a brand name can deceive our memories. I hadn't tasted the bar in a year. The Nacional de Chocolates - Santander bar didn't do much better, with a chocolatey flavor but too bitter, edgy and with a slight artificial flavor, probably from poor cacao butter or artificial vanilla.
Our own bars did better. The slightly overroasted blend of Piura and Esmeraldas ranked below my very own favorite Tumbes, Peru bar, whose citric notes are on the top of my list.
With the Lindt example, I wouldn't feel bad giving away a few sub-par bars I have lying around; if only we could can get a Fifth Avenue location, it would be perfect.