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Simply Divine

I like chocolate. A lot. Who wouldn’t? So much deliciousness to be had. I cook a lot with chocolate, and in fact, despite recent branching out into other areas (and a recent lemon meringue pie was so good, I’ll no doubt cook again soon and wax lyrical here), the vast majority of my puddings seem to be chocolate based.

The good news then, is that recent years seem to have resulted in an explosion in the availability, variety and quality of chocolate available to buy, especially 70%+ dark chocolate, the backbone of most of my cocoa bean based baking. There is also a much better range of milk chocolate, with higher than standard cocoa content, sometimes useful in cooking and always welcome in eating.

Traditionally, my personal favourite for eating has been Green & Blacks – what could possibly go better with a steaming mug of freshly brewed coffee than a slab of Maya Gold. Or  Dark & Ginger. Or Dark & Cherry. Or Milk & Butterscotch. You get the picture.

For cooking, I’m somewhat less fussy. Of course, dark has to be a minimum of 70% cocoa solids, but other than that, until someone educates me to the contrary (perhaps my palette isn’t as discerning as I’d like), as long as it’s good, it doesn’t make a lot of difference. So one of the deciding factors will probably be the price. Lots of ‘own-brand’ (usually the ‘finest’ or ‘taste the difference’ or ‘doesn’t the shiny, expensive looking packaging make this more tempting’ type ranges) available in supermarkets are really quite good, and clearly, when faced with the choice you’d have to be mad to buy chocolate for cooking from the ‘home baking’ aisle rather than the confectionary aisle, the difference seemingly lower quality, more expensive and less choice. (And, for me, there is something alarmingly off-putting about Doctor Oetker’s 70’s cream-and-stripe packaging, which might be shallow but I’m swayed by pretty boxes.)

So, when stocking up and looking for the bright shelf-edge labels indicating a potential bargain to be had (and for ‘multi-buy’ type offers, do quickly calculate that it is a genuine bargain and you aren’t just saving three pence, feeling smug for it and buying warehouse-type quantities of something you won’t use) I came across Divine Chocolate. And it is. It’s delicious, the milk bar is really creamy, and the dark bar has the telling ‘snap’ of quality. It worked great in cooking, and, it’s Fairtrade too. Now, I must confess I am a wanabe ethical shopper – I support the principles of Fairtrade, and the products usually are of good quality, but if shopping in the weeks before a payday, sometimes find the price-tag a little prohibitive. Good news then! Divine is really competitively priced, cheaper in fact that some similar quality, non-ethical (and I’m not suggesting for a minute that non-Fairtrade stamped products mean the manufacturers must treat their producers like dirt), so winners all round.

I’m also going to enthusiastically recommend Divine’s Milk Chocolate and Orange bar. My orange chocolate of choice, as I’ve already said and will no doubt crop up again, is G&B’s Maya Gold, but for a milkier, creamier treat, or for those of you that don’t like the spice of Maya, or indeed, dark chocolate as eating chocolate, this is a star. Much nicer than a certain foil-wrapped spherical version produced by a chap called Terrence.

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