A work meeting today gave me the opportunity to investigate for free the rarefied world of PREMIUM CHOCOLATE. Green and Blacks? Bendicks? Strictly middlebrow. Try Michel Cluizel, whose 1er Premier Crus de Plantations bars go for £3.50 per 100g. Not the kind of thing I’d ever buy but I was curious to taste them.

Naturally as un Anglais sans couth I thought the chocolate would be some kind of rip-off but actually it was really delicious. I sampled the ones from Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. The Madagascar one was initially disappointingly flakey but tasty enough and then had a fantastic aftertaste which moved gradually from mild sweetness to a comforting spicy heat. The PNG bar was sweeter and had a hint of violets but again, terrific aftertaste, this time somewhat cinnamon-y or even, yes, CLOVES-ish. The meeting proved to be a good venue for the chocolate tasting as propriety meant I couldn’t just scoff a load down so I got the chance to savour it.

The consensus was that this stuff won’t catch on in the UK – we like our chocolate milky not bitter, and the premium sector is a bit tiny. But there’s always room for super-premium products for a certain segment of the market, or for valentine’s day gifts, and the Cluizel bars definitely fit the bill. (Of course the question is whether the flavour differences I detected are anything whatsoever to do with the plantations the cocoa beans in each came from.)