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Seed and Bean Lavender Chocolate Bar - Dark
Why Seed and Bean?
Whilst in Holland and Barrett I discovered a new brand - Seed and Bean. As I am vegan I was browsing the vegan stock and once the symbol of Vegan was located at the front of the package I was intrigued.
There was a range of flavours and dark chocolate intensity on offer - I like the higher percentage the better for the more bitter taste and the fact that it is more antioxidant, which is the main reason that I have my 2 pieces of dark chocolate per day. If it tastes nice then that is a wonderful bonus.
I was impressed with other advertised credentials too - Organic Fairtrade Sustainable Ethical Vegan. This is a company that appeals in a big way.
As for the choice of Lavender - that is because I have recently seen a TV chef creating lavender chocolate and the taste testers reaction was impressive - you could tell he really was enjoying the flavour. I was most happy to have the chance to sample a lavender treat for myself.
This stuff isn't cheap and therefore like one of it's fellow vegan brands - Plamil - this is a treat. It's not much difference in price to Green and Blacks but unlike this brand you don't get to buy from superstores and take advantage of offers.
The packaging is unique and suggests that it is an ethical brand from the design - I can always determine this when I view a package. It is simple yet effective. I like the clear and concise labelling as I can locate any appropriate information and symbols quickly. This makes shopping so much easier.
The paper is thick and peels open nicely whilst being easy to fold closed until the next time it is opened. This helps to keep the chocolate fresh and the flavour crisp.
On the whole I'm most impressed with the aesthetics and feel that you get what you pay for. I look forward to the taste test next.
The bit that matters - Taste test
Once opened I get to see the bar in it's glory. At 72% cocoa I was happy to see that this was indeed a rich dark coloured bar. I was also pleased by the size of the squares which are bite sized and that is how I like them. On smelling the bar I was greeted with the rich cocoa aroma and intrigued by the intense lavender fragrance. I was unsure how this was going to taste and if I would like it. I love the fragrance of a lavender essential oil but I had yet to consume it.
Easily broken and not crumbly - so no waste here - I popped a small square into my mouth. The lavender taste was immediately noticeable - it was unusual initially though not unappealing. Soon the intense, dark and bitter cocoa flavour mingled with the lavender and this was when the chocolate began melting on my tongue. I now appreciated this sensation and it was reminiscent of a Turkish Delight but with a much more potent and luxurious dark chocolate. The piece lasted for a long time in my mouth as I don't chew I allow the piece to sit on my tongue and enjoy every last minute of the taste experience.
After consuming two small squares I am left with a beautiful taste in my mouth and no doubt on my breath - it is a treat for sure. I am very impressed and look forward to tomorrows morning squares. This will last approximately a week and a half for me as I only have the two squares per day - so it is quite cost effective if you look at it like that.
Selected Holland and Barrett Stores
£2.29 from Seed and Bean
£1.89 Holland and Barrett
I was really pleased to see another company that has great ethical values and produces dairy free chocolate - more choice for me. Seed and Bean have a comprehensive choice and a visit to the beautifully presented website will unveil the many treats on offer. This particular choice of Lavender with 72% Cocoa is damn good. Rich, bitter but somewhat creamy texture is infused with the floraly flavour of lavender and reminded me of Turkish Delight but surpassed it with the quality and refined taste sensation. There was nothing sickly about this bar and it felt like pure indulgence - the taste remains in the oral cavity for a good while afterwards and the breath is beautifully fragranced. This is a treat at the price but as I only have 2 small squares per day I may allow myself this indulgence more often - hope my small branch of Holland and Barrett can accommodate me.
Adventurous types will love this one - fans of Turkish Delight may well be tempted. Dark chocolate fans give it a whirl. I can highly recommend - it is divine.
A High FIVE
Thanks for reading also published on Ciao.
On my birthday this year I received a beautiful present from my son who lives in Arizona. All wrapped in a beautiful parcel with a lovely chocolate bow blanketing a bar of the most delicious confectionery I have ever tasted.
A beautiful deep lilac case housing a fair-trade, organic, dark chocolate bar infused with organic lavender, made by the Organic Seed and Bean Company!
He had ordered it especially from a favourite store of mine, the online Ethical Superstore who specialise in fair-trade and ethical products.
The Seed and Bean Company was founded in 1995 by a man called Stephen Rudkin. Stephen had his roots in sustainable development, and ran a home delivery whole food service for some years in rural Derbyshire. He then went on to further his career working for Holland and Barrett, and then Green and Blacks, and Whole Earth Foods, before finally being Sales and Marketing manager for Clearspring Whole Foods.
The packaging on my lavender chocolate has a lovely galleon on the front, trade mark of the company, and reflecting Stephen's love of sailing boats, and mirroring the ethics of the company to discover new and exciting foods from far away shores. An adventurous company they are!
So my chocolate won the great taste awards in 1997 and my goodness I can tell you why! This chocolate has a rich dark chocolate flavour, is quite a thin bar, but when you break off a piece and pop it into your mouth you are treated to a few moments of intense pleasure! After a few seconds the wonderful lavender flowers release their flavour and the bar is simply divine.
Don't worry if you have never heard of anyone eating lavender -it actually belongs to the same group of plants as most of our common herbs and has been used in cooking for hundreds of years! In France lambs are actually grazed on lavender fields to produce meat which is fragrant and tender. Being veggie I couldn't tell you what it's like, but I can tell you that the lavender flavour in this chocolate is out of this world.
There are hardly any ingredients in this, just fair-trade cocoa, soya lecithin, and lavender essential oil. As the cocoa is 72% this is a really intense dark chocolate. They obtain it from suppliers in Belgium so it is guaranteed to be high quality. Totally vegan this is a treat for anyone who follows that way of life! Being fair-trade you know that the growers are being guaranteed a fair price for their crop, which helps to ensure poverty is prevented. Also being organic it has never seen a chemical in its life.
They also make chocolate bars scented with rose, lime, mandarin and ginger, and mint so I don't think it will be long before I purchase these myself!
Retailing at £1.79 for 60g from Ethical Superstore, or in bulk bars of 12 saving 5% of the price. Also for sale in many farm shops and specialist shops up and down the country.
It's a moment of pure pleasure. If you get some hide it and savour it piece by piece, it's therapy-I promise!