I’ve always been a little indifferent toward chocolate, caught between the occasional greatness of a chocolate malted milkshake and the unbearable awfulness of the mass-produced chemical-packed sludge that people eat for some fool reason. Earlier this fall, my daughter sold these bars as a fundraiser for her school chorus fees. I bought one, took one bite, rolled it around on my tongue, trashed it, rinsed my mouth, brushed my teeth, and went door-to-door apologizing to everybody who’d bought a bar or ten from her.
If you’re looking for a treat that tastes much better than the sort of thing that I’m talking about, something that tastes natural and pleasant, then you’re going to love these completely wonderful chocolate bars from a Spanish company called Valor. They’ve recently entered the Atlanta market – here, and in Nashville, you can find their chocolate bars at Publix grocery stores – and they are producing some really amazing treats. The company was founded in 1881 by Valeriano Lopez and is today based in a small coastal city called Villajoyosa in the province of Alicante. They import their cocoa beans from Ecuador, Panama, and Ghana, but their secret weapon is the wonderful, roasted whole Marcona almonds. I didn’t even know that I liked almonds in a chocolate bar until we tried these.
Valor’s American PR company asked whether we’d like to sample some of these, and sent along four bars for Marie and me to try. They gave us both the regular and the sugar-free versions of their dark and milk chocolates. They were delicious. They have the balance exactly right. They are rich without being too powerful, and the chocolate’s delicate flavor balances perfectly with the almonds.
Neither the traditional nor the sugar-free (in the case of the milk chocolate, that’s technically “no sugar added,” as milk chocolate does naturally contain a small amount of sugar) had even a trace of artificial taste to them. The latter are made with Stevia and taste just as natural as the traditional variety. Having said that, we could honestly taste a difference between the original and the Stevia blend, but we enjoyed them all a good deal.
In the US, the small bars that we sampled retail for a very reasonable $1.86 apiece. If you haven’t a Publix in your area, you can order them from Valor Chocolate’s own shop, as well as Amazon, Worldwide Chocolate and Tienda.
(Our sample of this product was at their invitation, and our samples were complementary. It’s our policy to always note when we’ve received food without charge. If you would like to invite us to your restaurant’s media events, or to try your products, please drop Grant a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
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