The Great Croatian Chocolate Tasting

On my way back from from Zagreb I discovered a huge variety of interesting chocolate bars on sale at the airport. Although I had already bought a few bars in town, I felt honor-bound to try all this new stuff. I also felt I needed help, and a second opinion. It has taken this long for my friend Marjorie and I to find a time in our busy schedules when we could get together to do this.

I have to confess that we were perhaps not in the best condition to do a chocolate tasting as I had also brought back a bottle of Istrian wine (it was a Koslovic Teran, and very nice indeed), which we had consumed with dinner. However, we carried on bravely all the same.

I know this is very bad of me, but I’m actually more of a milk chocolate girl. The serious plain chocolate doesn’t agree with me. So I want to start with the Vitlov bars, because their chocolate was delicious. I had two flavors, one with sour cherries and one with almonds and cinnamon. The bars had a really lovely design on the top. The flavored stuff was on the bottom. The cherries were nice, but I’m not sure how well they worked with milk chocolate. I’m used to cherries with plain. The almond and cinnamon flavor was also very nice, but the crushed nuts provided a very different texture to the milk chocolate and the two didn’t work too well together.

Mikado provided some much more serious chocolate. I had two bars, both 72% cacao. One was orange flavored (with added orange peel) and the other mint. The orange was a bit of a disappointment as it didn’t have much flavor, but the mint was very nice. Marjorie described it as “what After Eights want to be when they grow up”.

Kraš is probably the biggest chocolate company in the country. They too do serious bars, though in their case only 60% cacao. I had plain and orange varieties. As you might expect, the Mikado chocolate was better quality, having 20% more cacao in it, but the folks at Kraš know how to make a chocolate bar taste of orange.

Finally I had four bars from Adria (the website appears to be down right now). They appear to be 72% cacao, though the text on the boxes is only in Croatian so I’m not certain. Their orange was as disappointing as the Mikado bar. The red pepper was much better if you got a big bit of chili in the piece of chocolate, but it was fairly unevenly distributed. The lavender was by far the strangest thing we tasted, and it did indeed have lavender in it. However, we finally decided that it smelled better than it tasted. Finally there was a bar with “flower of salt” from the Nin saltworks. Both chocolate and salt were delicious, but somehow they didn’t seem to quite support each other. The salt chocolate that I got from Mercedes in Åland was better.

Overall I felt that there was nothing spectacular, but a lot of promise and some very interesting ideas. Also, there was lots of chocolate, which is pretty much impossible to complain about.