By Benjamin Skipper
Green & Black's 55% Maya Gold is another one of those chocolates that makes me glad I'm loosening my review standards a little bit, because otherwise delectable treats like these would be absent from my sensual life. I but picked it up randomly while purchasing a slew of G&B's products, so what luck. It especially intrigues me since it's one of the most central products in G&B's lineup, for it was created in the company's early years using as inspiration a spiced chocolate drink from Belize. It also earned the first Fair Trade designation in the United Kingdom, meaning they pay cacao farmers above average prices for their crops in order to keep them in the cacao farming business. You can read more here.
The packaging is secretive as to the nature of the spices involved in the recipe, so I took it as a fun challenge to try and identify the traits. In the aroma I pick up bitter orange and spices like cardamon and ginger, maybe nutmeg, and overall it smells like the warm spice reminiscent of gingerbread. Flavor-wise I got a mix of bitter orange zest and the succulent sweetness of the fruit flesh, intermingled with peppery tones without the heat and tangy, lemony citrus notes at the finish. The tasting notes on G&B's site mentions the inclusion of nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla, and while I could get nutmeg in the aroma, I didn't really get it in the flavor, and detected none of the cinnamon and vanilla. The mouthfeel is great, as seems to be the case with most of G&B's products, as the bar is very thick and soft, and melts quickly into a smooth liquid. The appearance could be worked on a little bit, however, as the bar looks dusty, has no shine, and has too soft a snap.
Strangely enough, I didn't like the chocolate the first time I ate half of it, but when I came back to it a few days later I found I took a liking to it. A really, really, good liking it. Perhaps it's a flavor you need to get used to. It goes to show you that a hesitancy in trying new foods could lead you to exclude potential values.
This impresses me as an adult confection in not being overly sweet and having complex facets to stimulate one's tasting intelligence. The next time I get a bar I'm certainly going to work and see if I can identify yet more of its facets to heighten my attention and awareness. I definitely recommend this chocolate, and can see how it's become a signature for G&B's.