Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chocolate Review: New Tree's 73% Mint

By Benjamin Skipper

New Tree is a brand I've spoken about multiple times throughout my reviews, but have been abstaining from reviewing since it's pretty expensive. Well, I finally took to saving up my money and bought a mountain of them in bulk, saving me about $30 for 24 bars. Now I can finally review them! Naturally, my first choice is New Tree's 73% cocoa mint, which also has green tea extract in it for additional health benefits.

It did not quite live up to the memory I had of it, but it's still nice. It has a hot aroma of ginger spice and tea with milk, and flavor-wise it's dominated by peppermint with a bitter grassy undertone, probably the tea. The cocoa itself blends far too well into the experience, making itself almost invisible and therefore impossible to ascertain the nature of. Each bite brings a quiet snap and an uneven melt, crumbling at first to every chew and turning into a goo pretty slowly.

The bar is deep brown, almost to the point of being black, and offers a dull snap and shine, the latter attribute being so evenly reflective that the whole bar turns nearly entirely white at any light source. On the back I noticed a imperfection or two in the form of a hole being in the chocolate, as if it bubbled and popped, and the shine takes on an almost uniform grid pattern. The decorative design is among the best I've seen. On each square is not only the New Tree brand written in its signature font, but also a subtle imprint of the bellyside veins of a leaf. It's so slight that I'm impressed that such an imprint could be done so cleanly and precisely, and it makes the bar *very* attractive. New Tree definitely has one of the best looking bars out there.

The packaging is practical, but definitely needs some work. Each bar comes inside a cardboard casing that makes the bar much more sturdier and less prone to breaking when handling in the store, but the inner wrapper negates such insurance. Unlike other common practices, this wrapper is stronger and entirely sealed, much in difference to those other bars that use a thin foil that can easily be unfolded or partially ripped. The strength of the wrapper makes it virtually impossible to open the chocolate without breaking the bar, and I've yet to not break one. I think the smaller New Tree bars are wrapped differently, as I do not remember at all this being the case when I first tried it. To fully admire the aesthetics it's be nice if the bar opened up in one piece! I do at least like the bright white background of the cardboard, as it's very striking to the eyes; it certainly caught mine the first time I saw it on shelves.

The reason why I was attracted to this particular version is not only because I love mint, but also because they use peppermint, which is stronger than the plain mint extracts that are more common. I expected a much more intense experience, but I guess I mistakenly mixed up peppermint with peppermint oil, the latter of which may be stronger since it's a concentrated liquid essence. In my tasting I found that the intensity of the mint was no stronger than that of Endangered Species' own, and this came at the sacrifice of drowning out the chocolate. I want my mint to be as powerful as it can possibly be made, and this certainly falls short. Endangered Species not only delivers the mint, but also holds up the chocolate as well. Endangered Species is cheaper too.

This variety, at least, is enjoyable and worth recommending, but my search for more intense mint continues. I want that nose chilling, brain icing sensation to overwhelm me.

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