Remember Hageland, that surprisingly tasty line of chocolate bars available at Wal-Mart? Curiosity overtook me, and I bought the Costa Rica bar for myself a few weeks ago. When it comes to dark chocolate, anywhere around 70% cocoa suits me well, and the brand had already proven itself worthy.
Like all Hageland bars, the ingredients were minimal (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla) - perfect for a good chocolate bar. The Costa Rica bar was made with Trinitario cocoa beans, which are a hybrid of the common Forastero and rare Criollo beans. Because of this, chocolate made from Trinitario beans are said to have better flavor than that made with Forastero beans. I'll have to add a direct taste comparison to my list of things to do!
The chocolate had a sweet cocoa aroma with hints of anise and allspice that really reminded me of root beer. It tasted a little fruity, and the cocoa flavor was subtle and delicate. The chocolate was very mild in general, and it even tasted a bit toasty.
The texture was glorious; the melt was cool and not at all sticky. I enjoyed this bar, but not as much as the Chocolove 70% bar that I tried last month (though I couldn't find any info on what type of "premium" beans are used to make it). Still, Hageland has yet to disappoint, so I'd recommend this brand to anyone who hasn't tried it.
Chocablog also reviewed this bar late last year.