For once, Nik stays at home with only a bar of artisan chocolate for his dinner. What does he think? Read on and ye shall see!
Bean to bar is one of those phrases that's almost a single word. Spaces skipped, syllables merged, it welds itself together on the tongue of anyone talking trends, hipsters, and what's hot in 2015.
It's another example of an industry taking an interest in its own provenance and the skill of its product's creation. Think coffee, think meat, think beer.
I would say 'customer' in place of 'industry', but it seems to me that these trends for craft/devotion/keenness in origins and process are led by fundamentalist producers, rather than market demand.
Eventually, once the 'craft' product hits the shelves, the magazines, and television, customers prick their eyes, prick their ears and begin to take notice.
I could be wrong. My evidence is anecdotal, but I'm a busy man and it's the most you're going to get from me for now.
Doble & Bignall are one beantobar chocolate in an every increasing puddle of the stuff. Hopefully for them, they'll grab some market share before the slow-moving marketing muscle of the big boys sees the word beantobar written beneath Fruit & Nut and Maltesers.
When I chatted to the guys at Doble & Bignall, we disagreed on their packaging. I felt their clean, simple design would be lost on the supermarket shelves, no matter how good the bird illustrations are. They didn't.
However, we did agree on the taste. This chocolate is what craft beer is to yellow lager, what single malt is to generic blend, what freshly ground Brazilian bourbon bean is to Nescafé. Traces elements of that cheap high street flavour are there - i.e. You can tell it's the same category of food stuff - but the taste is supremely different, more luxurious, more refined, more...um...tasty. And surely, that's what it's all about!
The darkest chocolate from Doble & Bignall has that rich, deep, fruity flavour of high cocoa chocolate, with a mellow bitterness, rather than the sharp sting many dark chocolates deliver.
My favourite was the half-dark half-milk bar, which held a near perfect balance of bitter and sweet. A bar you'd struggle not to finish in one go.
As with all craft industries, it doesn't take long before the shelves are a-wash with a wealth of options. On the basis of these two bars, Doble & Bignall are a brand that should cement a place in the growing beantobar category.
Check them out here www.dobleandbignall.co.uk and watch this space!