Something I may have mentioned before is my quest for a new favourite among chocolates, something that would replace one of my old loves, Marabou’s Premium Filled (Winter) Caramel. So far, I haven’t been successful: I’ve tasted many delicious chocolates, but none of them has been quite there.
So it was with high hopes that I grabbed Lindt’s Excellence Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt from the grocery store. Is this the one?
The wrapping is loyal to the Excellence brand: nice gold lettering on a white background, with some black and, in this case, hues of caramel. I find this fairly simple design attractive. The tablet itself is rather thin but divided into squares that are of a nice size (i.e. not too small).
When you tear open the wrapping, the aromas that waft out are enchanting. There’s the dark chocolate with the sweet, warm scent of burnt sugar. I am not only intrigued, I want this scent in a bottle! (Not to wear, just to sniff at occasionally.)
The wrapping says “dark”, which in this case means that the cocoa content is 47 %. So not the darkest of dark chocolates – this might be a good place to start if you don’t have much experience of dark chocolates. The caramel comes as hard little pieces scattered everywhere in the tablet. The salt granules work in much the same way, so this chocolate definitely has a crunch and gives your teeth something to work on while the chocolate melts in your mouth. The caramel pieces are sweet, as expected, but they also have a deep, burnt sugar flavour which makes a beautiful liaison with the mellow chocolate. The salt is rather unevenly distributed in the tablet, so that some bites contain no noticeable amounts of it while others come with several large salt crystals. While this makes the experience somewhat uneven (some bites very sweet, others even too salty), it is a small problem and the salt does intensify the flavours and provides a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of chocolate and caramel. There’s something warm and comforting and yet dark and exciting about how these flavours combine and work together. This is the kind of chocolate I’d imagine to be perfect for autumn (and winter) evenings. If only we had a fireplace and I could eat this chocolate by a fire on dark and stormy nights...
And did I find what I was looking for? Well, yes, I think I did! This lacks the thick softness of my old favourite since the tablet is thinner and the caramel pieces bigger and harder, but never mind, it’s delicious and definitely a new favourite. In fact, once I’d bought the first bar for tasting purposes, I had to buy two new ones for... erm, well... for emergencies? ;)