Chocolate and Love is a premium organic, fairtrade brand set up by husband-and-wife team Richard and Birgitte O’Connor in 2010. “We wanted a brand we could feel good about,” they say – and as their products are now stocked in over 40 countries, it seems that plenty of other people agree with their ethos. The couple source their own cocoa beans from fairtrade producers, and their chocolate is made with comparatively little sugar.
We were delighted to try out the all-vegan gift box, containing four 80g bars in Panama 80%, Rich Dark 71%, Pomegranate 70% and Orange 65%. The set comes presented in a really lovely keepsake gift box, and retails at £16.99. It’s available from major supermarkets or directly from Chocolate and Love. Single bars start at £1.99.
What we thought: this is seriously good chocolate. Everything about it shouts ‘quality’, from the packaging to the taste. You can’t really tell that there’s less sugar in these bars, the flavour is so intense. I liked the pomegranate bar, which had little candied chunks of pomegranate embedded in dark chocolate, but my favourite was probably the orange. I’d expected something a bit like a plain Terry’s Chocolate Orange, but this was streets ahead – a real, zesty taste of orange set against a very intense chocolate hit.
Chocolate brownie recipe with hazelnuts
The chocolate tasted delicious eaten as it was, but how is it to bake with? We put it to the test by using it to make a chocolate brownie recipe.
NOTE: this recipe makes more of a cakey than a fudgy brownie. If you prefer a more fudgy texture, then use 75g chocolate and 60g flour.
- 75g butter
- 60g Chocolate and Love chocolate
- 150g sugar
- 75g self raising flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and base line a 20cm square tin.
Start by toasting the hazelnuts to give them a more intense flavour. Heat a large, heavy pan (no need to add any oil) and add the nuts. Keep stirring them constantly, as they’ll burn very easily! When they’re lightly toasted, take them off the heat and set them aside.
Then, put the chocolate and butter in a large bowl and microwave in short bursts until completely melted together (you can also do this in saucepan over a low heat on the hob).
Add in the flour, sugar, vanilla and nuts then allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding the eggs or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!
Finally, beat the eggs in a little at a time and beat until you have a smooth, glossy batter. Pour it into the prepared tin, and even it out. Bake for around 20 to 25 minutes until the top looks cooked but it’s still slightly soft in the middle. Leave it to sit in the tin for a few minutes before turning out. Serve still warm.
I make this chocolate brownie recipe a lot, but I’ve never made it with such good quality chocolate before. The less sweet chocolate made no difference to the taste, but I thought the texture was a little denser than usual which I liked. Next time, I’d mix in some small chunks of the chocolate at the same time as the hazelnuts to really intensify the flavour. I’m looking forward to experimenting with the flavoured bars, as well.
All in all, this is not cheap chocolate. But then it doesn’t taste like cheap chocolate, and you’re paying for a product that’s ethically sourced and organic. I’ll definitely be seeking this range out in future, and a little of it goes a long way so great for satisfying those cravings. You can find out more or buy online at www.chocolateandlove.com.
All images (c) Write Image for You Media
Disclosure: The chocolate was gifted for the purposes of the review, but all views and opinions are honest and our own.