I’m not going to lie, I have one of the best spots in the office
because I sit next to my good friend and illustrious foodie,
Catherine Jheon.  Why am I so obsequiously praising? Because
she gets LOTS of chocolate, and I’m a chocoholic.  Though her
opinion is coveted, often times she passes the chocolate —
particularly the dark chocolate — over to me for review, because,
well, it is my specialty.

And one fine morning (never too early for chocolate) my good
fortune brought me a tidy loot bag of
Nestle Noir

Noir was introduced to Canadians in 2008, and marked Nestle’s
foray into the elaborate world of fine dark chocolate.  Why
then the sudden “hello” from a 2008 product? Because Nestle Noir
had undergone a 2010 makeover, showcasing how committed Nestle is
to convincing dark chocolate snobs like myself, that they too know
a thing or two about it.  (You see, to be a dark chocolate
lover is to perpetually seek out obscure, artisanal producers, who
weave a mystical tale of how much finer their cocoa is than the
others — hard to compete when you’re a large chocolate
producer.)

Nestle’s big idea?  Shape
matters.
  Pasta people would agree, as would
oenophiles (wine people), knowing their obsession with stemware,
but chocolate?  The 2010 incarnation of Nestle Noir is not an
ordinary bar divided into flat-surface, domino-like squares, but a
topographically enhanced relief of
waves. 

“The wave shape hits certain areas of the oral surface improving
the melt-in-your-mouth quality while while simultaneously reserving
enough space in the mouth for the aroma to enrich the sensorial
experience,” says Janet T. Planet, Nestle innovation
Manager. 

Eagerly tearing at the goody bag, I ingested half the bar
of  “Intense 70%”, giving away the “Eclat Caramel”, “Miel
Amandes” and “Eclat Noir”, because I am a purist, and those three
flavours are all under 70%.  In the next few days (ok one and
a half), I polished off the “Intense” and the 80% “Sublime,”
leaving no trace of either. 

The experience?  Different from what I’m
used to, but certainly intriguing.  The
chocolate was much lighter and a tad sweeter than the dark, dense,
waxy stuff I tend to stick to (it’s an acquired taste), pointing to
its instant mass appeal.  The aroma was irresistible, clearly
calculated by an army of chocolate alchemists that only a large
company such as Nestle could afford, and the shape…well, the
shape actually worked: chocolate made contact with
all the right parts of my palate, extending its reach and hence
taste sensation.

Final analysis? I take my hat off.  Though I wouldn’t make
the switch completely, I applaud Nestle’s contribution to the
science of chocolate, and would indeed support that shape does make
a difference.  Now if only someone were to make it less
fattening…

What do you say? Does shape matter?Have you experienced the wave?

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