Droste is a Dutch chocolate company. They make very nice round chocolate pieces (pastilles). They put 20 of these five gram pieces in a package. The packages are distinctive looking hexagonal tubes; which I have unrolled in order to scan them in. The chocolates are sealed in an airtight (and presumably waterproof) inner container. This gives them a very long shelf life; I have had packages of Droste chocolates sit in my pantry for very long periods of time with no noticable degredation.

A side benefit of Droste's packaging method is that this makes very good travelling chocolate. It is easy to dispense one piece at a time without getting chocolate smeared all over your fingers, and it is easy to wrap it back up so that you won't get chocolate all over the inside of your purse or on the papers in your briefcase, etc. Whether this is an intentional feature of their chocolates or not, it is a nice touch that Droste can be thanked for.

Droste is widely distributed and should not be too difficult to find in your area. Candy shops often carry it, as do many gourmet food shops and even some grocery stores. Droste gets points with me for listing the percent cocoa solids on their label, which is not something you often find on such widely distributed chocolates.

Droste Bittersweet Pastilles

Droste's Bittersweet Pastilles are really quite nice. This is a very firm chocolate, with a good solid feel to it. It gives a nice crisp snap when you bite it. The ingredient list is fairly standard: sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, vanillan. The only thing I can fault them for is using vanillan instead of real vanilla. They list the percent cocoa solids as 52% minimum, which is pretty high but which I have to wonder about. Sugar is listed first in the ingredients, which means there is more sugar than any other ingredient. And yet they claim that more than half of this chocolate is cocoa solids. I do not understand how that can be. Perhaps one is measured by weight and the other by volume. If any of you loyal readers can clear this up for me, I would be pleased to know the answer to this little puzzle.

As I said before, this is a very nice chocolate. One way that good chocolates often differentiate themselves from boring chocolates is that they have an obvious aroma. Droste's Bittersweet Pastilles certainly have that. A good aroma adds so much to the eating experience that I was quite pleased to encounter it when I tore open the inner wrapper of the package.

The taste was not disappointing either. Some chocolates wait a long time before giving up their flavor. This is not one of them. You can taste the chocolate immediately upon eating some. It is a good deep chocolate flavor, too. Another nice thing I noticed was that even though you don't have to wait for the flavor, it builds in intensity for quite some time, reaching a powerful flavor in the end. As for the flavor, it doesn't have any fruity or nutty qualities that I could detect, but it was somewhat tart. I don't mean to imply that the tartness is overt or distracting, but it is present as a subtle background flavor. Tartness in a chocolate is unusual, but I found it quite appealing.

Comparing this chocolate with the rest of the chocolates I have ranked at 3.5, this chocolate is better than Dove Dark Chocolate, and comparable with Lindt Chocolat Excellence or Perugina Dark Chocolate.