Chocolate, summertime… well that means melted chocolate, sticky fingers and messy faces. Or perhaps big cones of cool chocolate ice cream. But it can also mean a creative time for chocolatiers to come up with new recipes for chocolate bars that play up summer ingredients and fresh fruits, and new combinations of flavors for the hot months. It might be wise to avoid the 90 degree days to buy and taste these chocolates, but don’t wait too long, they might already be off the shelves.
Lindt introduced its Summer Edition chocolate bars, and you can’t miss them in Zürich’s supermarkets, out on display on fake beds of ice. All the bars have two things in common – when you open the traditional packaging, you find 18 individual mini squares, rather than one big bar to break up yourself. That’s one thing. The other is that they’re all delectable and a welcome addition to the typical summer treats. Furthermore, Lindt recommends that you eat them straight out of the fridge, avoiding those sticky fingers and messy faces.
I am a dark chocolate person, as will surely be repeated on this blog many a time. I can do milk chocolate, especially if it comes in the form of Pralus’ Mélisse bar or the original Toblerone, which will always hold a place near and dear to my heart. But as for white chocolate, I just don’t do it. It’s technically not chocolate anyway, no cocoa liquor at all, only cocoa butter and other assorted fats. That said, when I saw Strawberry-Rhubarb as one of Lindt’s summer flavors, I immediately grabbed it, adoring this combination in jams, tarts and just about anything at all. But when I realized it was white chocolate, I had to struggle to keep it in my cart. I did, and figured I might as well add another white chocolate bar while I was at it, so Stracciatella joined the mix. Lindt makes an excellent creamy white chocolate, it has to be said. Stracciatella had little bits of chocolate and crisped rice, while the Strawberry-Rhubarb squares had tiny strawberry crispies and according to the ingredient list, rhubarb powder. I mostly enjoyed the texture, creamy on the outside and these little crispy surprises on the inside. But I quickly put them aside to try another of the line, the Passion-Orange, these crispies being blood orange flavored and the powder passionfruit. All in a dark chocolate shell. Superb. Easy to pop these little guys like whoppers, you have been warned.
Another chocolate company with a limited edition line of chocolate bars this summer is Dolfin, from Belgium. I am already saddened at the thought that I won’t be able to buy their Douceurs de Verger (Sweetness from the Orchard) or Souvenirs d’Eté (Memories of Summer) whenever I please. Both chocolates are made only in a mini version of 30g, while Dolfin’s well-known line of 19 bars is 70g.
Four thin rectangles snap loudly when broken, just like a perfectly tempered chocolate should, these being 60% cocoa. The first bar manages to bring images of a summer orchard, without leaving behind its flavors and aromas – bits of apple, peach and apricot went into these bars, along with vanilla and a surprise ingredient: rooibos tea. Superbly subtle and perfectly blended, it was delicious. As was the other bar, titled Apple Crumble. You get an immediate punch of apple, dominated by cinnamon, and supporting stars: hazelnuts, cane sugar and vanilla rounding it all out.
These bars are sure to be eaten so fast, you’ll even be sad there’s no melted bits to lick off your fingers. Afterall, that’s part of the fun of eating chocolate in the summertime.