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Food is amazing. I have always loved food and I always will. Even recently when I've done brilliantly at cutting out all the junk foods and substituting one unhealthy thing for something better, I still enjoy whatever I've substituted. The only thing I cannot seem to find a substitute for is chocolate. It would appear that chocolate is my weakness. I can have Maltesers as a lighter alternative... but sometimes I still crave that hit of pure chocolate. When those times rear their head, I search out the Lindt with a touch of sea salt from my local tesco (Asda don't sell it for some strange reason).
Lindt (pronounced with a silent D as far as I can tell) have become quite famous for their chocolatey endeavours in the last few years. My first Lindt was their little chocolate balls (lindor) in the big red box that nearly everyone will recognise, especially if you like your chocolate as much as I do. They are a Swiss chocolatier that have been on the go since 1845 when the father and son of the Sprüngli family who owned a pastry shop in Zurich decided to start making bars of chocolate, which was quite a new thing at the time. Prior to this time chocolate was consumed mainly as a drink rather than sweets and bars. I'd have died. In 1899 after the company had been passed down through the family, they bought a famous brand by Rodolphe Lindt and took on all the secrets of his already successful chocolate making. Since then the company and the names have fallen out and made up and went from strength to strength. Despite the fall outs, you can still see the full name of the founders on the chocolates (though you'll have to look hard); Lindt & Sprüngli. You can read the full history of the company in detail on their website www.lindt.co.uk where you can also find a contact form if you wish to shoot them an enquiry.
A little bit of hunting on the .com version of the website also produced an address that you can contact them on as follows:
Lindt & Sprüngli (International) AG
Phone: +41 44 716 23 98
Fax: +41 44 716 26 54
===What a Package===
The packaging for this stuff really screams quality. You'll find your bar wrapped in a cardboard sleeve with white gold and black mingling to make this look almost royal in appearance. By which I mean expensive and fit for a king, not inbred. It even says Excellence on the front! The square in the middle has tinges of blue (very suitable) and a little picture of a square of the stuff inside. On the back you'll find all your usual information about nutrition and manufacturers. Opening the cardboard sleeve is simple, there's a little corner waiting for you to pull at it and the whole thing will just pop open neatly without ripping. Inside you'll find your bar of chocolate is wrapped in a sealed foil sleeve. If you're careful, you can fold back an edge and then pull and the foil will tear in a nice straight line making it easier to wrap up any leftovers until you get round to scoffing them. Even the foil looks lovely covered with the Lindt name that delicately flickers into view when the light hits it. It really is an indulgent piece of work.
===What you get===
Inside your foil, you'll find 100g of chocolate, looking lovely and smooth. Each square has a couple of lines on it and the Lindt name imprinted on it. There are ten squares for each bar, the squares being quite large at about an inch squared. Each piece is about 7mm thick. It's the perfect size to give you a mouthful of chocolate per piece. The clean straight lines of the chocolate allows for one of those lovely tactile moments similar to when you have a kit-kat. You can trace your finger down the foil before you unwrap it and feel the foil moulding to the shape below. Fantastic!
The chocolate is dark chocolate so you'd not expect it to be very sweet. Throw in that it has sea salt through it and you'd probably laugh at the idea that it might not be as bitter as a teenager who only got an I-pad 2 for Christmas instead of the most up to date version. Well, hate to tell you, but it actually tastes sweet! The dark chocolate is strong, but perfectly balanced with the salt. I find the best way to eat it is to let it melt on your tongue. You'll get the smoothness of the chocolate first and then you'll feel the grittyness of the salt granules pushing through. The tang they provide puts the chocolate flavour into stark perspective making it seem a lot sweeter than it probably would be on its own. The salt isn't overpowering unless you search out a big piece with your tongue and allow it to dissolve on its own, which is something I quite enjoy doing too. This chocolate gives you so many taste sensations in one square, it really is absolutely delicious! As for the cravings, a couple of pieces of this deals with my chocolate cravings rather rapidly, probably due to the fact that, even though it tastes sweeter than most dark chocolate, it is still dark chocolate. It has a minimum of 47% cocoa solids, whereas milk chocolate tends to have a minimum of 20 -25%. Ok, so it's not the darkest chocolate available to buy, but in my opinion you start to compromise on the enjoyable flavour of chocolate the higher the percentage gets. There is a milk chocolate version of the chocolate available, but if I'm being honest, the dark chocolate version is much tastier and that is coming from an avid milk chocolate fan.
Lindt don't supply your guidline daily allowance for anything on their packaging so I've done a little research for you to give anyone interested the percentages. First off on my hitlist is the calories. They'll give you it per 100g and given that there are 10 squares in each 100g pack its (thankfully) quite easy to work out per square. There are 51 calories per square of this stuff. That's 2.5% of your GDA per square. On the Scottish Slimmers diet I'm doing that's 2 points per square which, for something as satisfying as this is, is not bad at all! Sugar comes in at 5g per square which is 5.5% of your GDA, while fat comes in at 3.25g being 4.5% of your GDA. Saturates are a bit higher at 2g per square being 9.5% of your daily allowance (eating a whole bar will leave you with 5% of your allowance for the rest of the day). Salt is the most surprising one here, with only 0.025g coming in at 0.25% of your GDA per piece.
I can easily stuff a whole bar of this stuff away, but the recommended serving is about 4 pieces and I do admit, that's more than adequate. Most times, I'll separate it out into chunks of two squares and the bar can last me a week.
For those of you who explode when you look at peppers or have a bad case of limbs falling off if you go near flour, you might want a quick look over the list of ingredients.
Sugar, Cocoa mass, cocoa butter, butterfat, emulsifier (soya lecithin), Fleur de sal (sea salt) (0.3%), flavouring (vanilla).
It also states on the pack that it may contain traces of almonds and hazelnuts and recommends that you store this stuff in a cool dry place as with most other foods. Not an awful lot in there to be scared of as far as I can see but someone may disagree!
This stuff usually sits at around £1.85 in Tesco though occasionally you do get offers on where you can pick up two bars for £3. I usually buy this stuff when it's on offer so that I can grab Allan a bar of the Chilli chocolate from the same "excellence" range. It feels like it's a little expensive... but then you do get 100g of chocolate with this. Most sweets weigh in about 30g. I'd definitely say that you get your money's worth with this stuff, especially if it's on offer.
I love this stuff. It's tasty and definitely fulfils my chocolate cravings with only a couple of pieces. Not to say that I didn't scoff the entire bar of the stuff in one sitting for the purposes of this review... yes... all for the review... ahem. Regardless of how much of a glutton I am, however, this stuff really shines above all the other "premium" chocolate I've set my mouth upon. The salty edge really makes it shine. A perfect mix of sweet and savoury that just screams indulgence. It's in the top few items on my list of the best comfort foods on the planet. The packaging is lovely and the price isn't even that terrible. If you haven't tried it, give it a go. Five stars out of five from me.
I am in no way an expert on chocolate but I do think that Lindt is over-rated. It's a decent brand but I don't think that the taste or quality lives up to the expectations that the fancy packaging, adverts - not to mention the price, give you. Maybe I am a philistine but I much prefer good old Cadbury's or Galaxy!
However, I saw the advert on TV for this and was very intrigued. I have more of a savoury than sweet tooth, and I like salty foods, so I thought that I might like chocolate with sea salt. I have tried chocolate with balsamic vinegar before, which I like, but I had never heard of such a thing as chocolate with salt.
The packaging is typical Lindt - it looks classic and fancy. The cardboard cover is pale cream with the Lindt logo and a picture of a square of the chocolate and some salt on a blue background. Inside, the chocolate is covered with silver foil. I do like the silver foil, peeling it back reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! The chocolate slab inside is fairly thin and has indentations where you can break off the squares. I prefer smashing it against the worktop a couple of times to break it into random pieces.
This is dark chocolate. I prefer milk chocolate but I guess that the salt wouldn't really work with milk chocolate. If you eat a bit quickly and chew it, it tastes like regular dark chocolate to be honest. However, if you let the chocolate melt in your mouth you will realise that it has little flecks of sea salt in it, and the salty taste really comes through. It is strange but oddly delicious. It's the kind of thing that you will not be sure if you like - but yet will keep going back for another bit!
If you have a sweet tooth and prefer your chocolate to be sweet and give you a sugar hit, then this isn't for you. I personally really like it. I maybe wouldn't buy it on a regular basis, but for something a little unusual it's great.
This costs around £1.82 for a 100g bar. Pricey, but it's not the kind of thing you'd be buying all the time.
Thanks for reading.
Lindt is famous for its very high quality dark chocolate bars and some unusual flavours, and Lindt Excellence A Touch of Salt is no exception. Overall it is a decent full-bodied dark chocolate.
*Packaging and appearance*
Opening a bar of Lindt is always a magical experience. The packaging is in the unusual Lindt style, with the swirling gold font, white background and a touch of purple in the middle on this bar. The bar seems to be a French import as all of the text on the front is in French ('sel' is salt in French in case you are not sure how to locate this flavour!) Inside the cardboard case is the pleasingly cool silver foil which easily rips open to reveal the smooth, ridged, dark brown bar. The squares of chocolate are thin but large and snap nicely, and thus are much more pleasing to bite into than thicker, softer chocolates of other brands.
Despite the sea salt added, this chocolate tastes little different to Lindt's plain 50% cocoa bar at first. Then later as you swallow, particularly if you have let the chocolate melt, you can feel small crystals of the salt and there is a mildly strange flavour: it tastes almost like crisps (like Mini Cheddars to be precise), but weirdly is not too offputting. Overall I think the salt mostly adds depth of flavour.
Per 4 (large) squares - there are 10 in a bar:
of which saturates: 7g
This chocolate is reasonably healthy compared to some (for example Dairy Milk has 220 calories, 21g sugar and 8g saturated fat for the same weight).
The RRP of this product is £1.39, as Lindt offer luxury chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids (unlike cheap supermarket alternatives which are topped up with lots of milk and sugar). However, I managed to find it in B&M Bargains for 29p instead, and other similar shops may offer it at a similar price. As a gift I would say this chocolate is worth paying the RRP for, but I personally would not buy it for myself at that price.
This chocolate is a perfect example of "you should try everything at least once" as many may be surprised at how pallatable the sea salt flavour is. This would make a good gift for dark chocolate lovers (usually Dads in my experience) who are a little more adventurous than the selection box grazers of the general chocolate-eating population.
Sea Salt Lindt was always going to be a Marmite type of product: you'd either love it or hate it, love or hate the idea of it, even. However when I spotted it in Canada, I had to buy it. I like salt on most things (pasta, yogurt, cornflakes...), so it wasn't even a 50:50 gamble for me. There was a good chance this was one I was going to like.
Lindt seem to like mixing up their product range with random flavours like Chilli in among your more normal Orange or Intense Mints. This new item is described as 'Dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt...a unique and sophisticated new taste experience'. The packaging was slightly worrying as it featured a nice normal looking piece of Lindt being rained down on my chunks of sea salt, but still.
As is the fashion with Lindt, the bar comes in a cardboard sleeve and, inside, a foil wrapping. This travelled well but when I tried to open it I found it difficult to find an end in the foil to access the chocolate itself, as it is well wrapped. In the end, I jabbed it with a knife. When it's chocolate time, I don't want to faff around trying to get into it. I'm not sure if this is a Canadian thing, as I've never had any trouble getting into the similarly wrapped European products. The bar has five 2-piece rows, and each 10g piece is 50 calories which is a suitable amount for a hint of chocolate taste. This is not the sort of bar you'll be eating in one go, but the kind you might savour, a square at a time, with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. The bar is a thin, solid bar so you get decent sized squares, albeit not chunky ones.
The packaging doesn't tell me how dark the chocolate is. Though the ingredients list states 'Cacao solids: 47% minimum' the chocolate tastes much darker (and may indeed be so). To me, it tastes like maybe a 60% level. This of course makes it fairy bitter, but not as hideous as the 99% one they once forced on me in Sydney's Lindt cafe. The chocolate, like most offerings from Lindt, melts in your mouth, leaving you with a silky liquid just before it vanishes. So, what about the salt?
Based on the packet's illustration and the words 'hand harvested sea salt', and based on what I know about the white stuff, I was expecting the chocolate to be grainy in some way, but in fact it was extremely smooth. The salt is well blended into the chocolate, and you cannot see or feel large coarse lumps of it in the chocolate, though you do come across the odd small grain. The salt taste is distinct and clean, but I found that it wasn't evenly distributed throughout the bar and every so often you'd come across a super salty chunk. The combination of the slightly bitter dark chocolate and the tangy salt is good too - you can imagine with a sweeter chocolate this would just be too weird, but it works well with the higher cocoa variety.
Adding salt to chocolate is not entirely new. Hotel Chocolat and Green and Black, among others, both do a salty caramel bar, but those, of course, includes a caramel kick too. It's missing that bit out that makes this bar nice and simple, and rather special.
The combination of salty and sweet may not appeal to everyone, but I liked this bar a lot. It's by no means an every day chocolate, but as a treat it was tasty and unusual and, most crucially, satisfying. Nothing gets more points from me than a chocolate I can stop eating before the social acceptability threshold kicks in. You might like this is your ideal of a dream snack is dark chocolate covered pretzels (same salty/sweet combo) but want something you can suck on quietly rather than crunch noisily.
Currently on Facebook there are 102 fans of 'Lindt Excellence - A Touch Of Sea Salt'. I might just make it 103.