You probably already know this, but reviewers do try to research the items offered for review, particularly if they’re from a source new to the reviewer. Sadly, researching confectioners Lolli & Pops was very difficult, possibly because they recently filed for bankruptcy. The company’s website is not terribly informative — for example, a search on the site for their Madagascar Sambirano chocolate bar turned up no results. I did find, on another site, that this is No. 1 in a series of single-origin chocolates, this one from the Sambirano Valley in Madagascar.
Well, so much for research — now to the meat, as it were.
From the beginning: the color is somewhat darker than milk chocolate, not as dark as other high percentage cacao that I’ve sampled. The texture is somewhat brittle, as is only to be expected from a 70% cacao bar. The initial taste is rich, almost buttery. The back of the package describes this one as “an aromatic chocolate with notes of red berries and citrus.” I’ll leave the “aromatic” part to noses perhaps more sensitive than mine. I can catch a hint of berries in the aftertaste, but you’re going to have to wait for the citrus — it eventually makes itself known, but blends in with the berries enough that it becomes tartness rather than an identifiable flavor. I will note that the buttery taste lingers — the berries/citrus have just enough presence to accent the butter.
The Madagascar Sambirano comes in a flat 2-ounce bar, with a lightly incised pattern and company logo on the front, but no scoring deep enough to break the bar into bit-size pieces. It’s certainly worth sampling — if you can find it. Apparently Lolli & Pops, which has been largely a boutique confectioner with outlets in shopping malls, has been forced to closed a number of stores. So, happy hunting!