By Benjamin Skipper
After reading Mark's own review of five chocolates, I have been glad to have been given the opportunity to try out one of the brands on his list, Chocolove XOXOX (which has a cacao content of 77%). While it has a nice cutesy name making it appropriate for a romantic gift, I don't react particularly strong to this brand.
Most importantly, it seems as if the very flavor itself is on the fence. It isn't too sweet, but it isn't all that dark either. The dead center of sweet and dark just seems to take the edge off of its chocolatyness. As promised in previous post, I have been doing better to slow down my eatings of my chocolate and have even been making my bars last longer, so as to help me concentrate better on the nature and attributes of the chocolate rather than being an undiscriminating glutton. However, no matter how many tastings I allow of myself for this chocolate I just don't get much of a reaction from it. It's just not much of anything, though I agree with Mark's post that it may be a good introductory dark chocolate since it's neither too sweet nor bitter. The discriminating and experienced palate, however, might think this a "novice" chocolate.
On the negative side I absolutely detest the mouthfeel. It's the return of the crishy-crunchiness I hate, since I'd rather have an instant melt-in-your-mouth sensation, or at the very least a softer chocolate that easily snaps apart. I tried momentarily to let the chocolate sit in my mouth and melt, but it's stubborn to body heat and makes me feel like I'm sitting with a chocolate-flavored block in my mouth, what with how weak the flavor profile is.
Aesthetically, even the appearance of the bar isn't all that appetizing. Upon unwrapping, you'll notice in an instance that this bar has the appearance of all stereotypical chocolate bars as they appear in popular media: plain little square blocks with little outward distinguishing features. Not even stripes for texture! I don't know why so many different companies have such different policies, but I'd like to see much more attention paid to the actual appearance of the bar. Take the chocolate company Newtree for instance, which not only makes great tasting chocolate bars, like mint and ginger, but also makes their bars look beautifully artistic: Up close, you can see an imprint of the veins of a leaf. No, not a rendition of leaf veins as they are perceived to be; it looks as if they actually encased a leaf in the chocolate. With so delicate a design, such an appearance cannot help but enhance the eating experience. As such, it's disappointing when other chocolate companies don't make an effort to give their bars individuality, or do so lamely by putting simple shapes on their bars, such as lines and dots. Even the name of the company written in a fancy font would be satisfactory to me.
In conclusion, I consider the flavor profile of this bar to be weak -- probably due to my other dark chocolate experiences -- the mouthfeel to be overly crunchy, and the aesthetics of the bar to be lacking. I wouldn't mind eating this chocolate again if it were given to me, but I wouldn't purchase it.