In addition to their hand-scooped bars, Zotter Chocolate also has a line of single-origin chocolates called Labooko. Typically, there are two 35g bars in one packaging. In this case, I chose a dual tasting “contest” bar containing a 72% Belize bar (which was conched for 21 hours) and a 72% Panama bar (which was conched for 22 hours).
However, upon opening the uniquely folded informational outer wrapper, I came to the realization that both bars were wrapped in IDENTICAL gold foil and did not have any distinguishing labels to indicate which was which (unlike the Sirene tasting bars that I reviewed a few weeks ago).
Maybe a “blind” tasting was the intent of the packaging? Maybe I was oblivious to some crucial clue that would help to identify each bar? Feeling perplexed, I decided to call Zotter’s customer service line and had a very pleasant chat with Barbara Dolleschal, co-owner and manager of the Cape Coral, Florida location. She mentioned that, unless things had changed at headquarters in Austria, the Panama bar was on the left side and the Belize bar was on the right (when looking at the packaging as if it was an open book). Prior to my call, as I opened each chocolate individually and placed them on a plate for ease of comparing & contrasting, I tried to pay attention to which one came from the left side of the packaging and which one from the right side. In my excitement, I *may* have lost track…oops!
So, below I’ll provide my tasting notes, but will only be able to refer to the bars as “top” and “bottom” based on this photo:
Each bar is imprinted with, what looks to me, two cacao pods. The pod in the foreground is plain and the pod in the background has writing etched into it, though I can’t make out the words.
The bar on the bottom looked a little darker in color than the top bar and had a stronger roasted aroma. In segmenting the bar, it produced a sharp snap and seemed to break apart in a smooth, even chunks.
The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy (probably due to the additional cocoa butter) and had a rich, warm, nutty flavor. My guess is that this is the Panama one.
The bar on the top produced a brittle snap and broke apart in jagged, uneven pieces, sending little shards flying every which way.
This one looked a little drier in texture and had a less creamy mouthfeel. Overall the flavor was multi-layered: starting off earthy, turning to fruity (reminding me of berries) and finishing a bit like toasted bread or malt. Based on prior experiences, my guess is that this is the Belize bar.
While I enjoyed both bars, I’m still curious about which was which. I may never really know. Next time I’ll pay more attention, but it would also be helpful for Zotter to provide a label on each bar to minimize confusion. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to determine the meaning of the word “Labooko” that is imprinted on the bars and the packaging, so please let know if you have additional information!
One thing that I forgot to mention in my last Zotter post is how well the chocolates were packaged for transit. They wrapped the bars in a cocoon of silver thermal bubble wrap and added a cute ice pack just in case.
There is a warning in three languages advising people not to eat the contents of the squishy square! I love the English translation 🙂
It’s hard to believe that 26 weeks ago I embarked on this journey to alphabetically sample new-to-me chocolates A through Z. This is a proud moment for me as I post the last entry for this year. THANK YOU all for your support and encouragement throughout this process!
If you’ve come to enjoy the weekly stories, never fear, “Round 2” of Eating the Chocolate Alphabet is in the works! My goal will be to feature unique inclusion ingredients (think A is for Amaranth and B is for Bay Nut) and all brands/makers are fair game. If there is an unusual inclusion ingredient that you think I should try, please send me a note! I’m pretty sure that “X” is going to be challenging since I don’t want to feature Xanthan Gum or Xylitol. I wonder if there is a chocolate that incorporates XO sauce?! If not, hopefully this will inspire someone to do so 😉
Until the new year, I wish you all Happy Holidays starting with Thanksgiving tomorrow!