[A re-post of a review I did in 2010]
You read that right! Ginger, Ground Chilli, Volcano Cashews and Bacon on top of milk chocolate. And where the heck can you get this, and many other flavour combinations from? Well Chocri of course - well not until Monday when they launch in the UK. The wonderful guys there asked if I'd like a couple of bars to review ahead of schedule - of course I said yes.
What I love about Chocri is that I, and you, have the option to play chocolatier to some degree and choose your own toppings. I stupidly chose the ones I liked individually and didn't really think how they go together. I adore crystallised ginger, I've got a passion for hot food, and I’m partial to cashews and love a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea on a Saturday morning. Putting them together wasn't perhaps the cleverest thing I've ever done. But to be fair I also chose a bar that they came up with called the "extreme concentration" - because I don't have any. I'll see what that bar is like at a later date.
So how does it work? Well you choose your base chocolate which from white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and combination of white and milk and they'll be £2.50 ish (I don't have the prices as the site hasn't launched yet) and then you choose up to five toppings which I expect will range from 70p to 95p each. You do this twice as the minimum order is two at a time. I spent about 5 minutes playing with the flavour combinations - but that's half the fun, especially if you're buying for friends or a loved one.
The bars are basically traditional size, but a fair bit bigger than the normal gourmet chocolate dimensions and will obviously weigh differently depending on what you've chosen, but I expect mine to be about 110g -so I'd definitely say you'll get value for money. So what about the aroma of mine? Well it smells like a pizza, not a chocolate pizza, but a real life, deep-pan, get it delivered to your door pizza. As I've demolished a fair amount of food today I wasn't all that enthralled. But that's my fault!
And what I about the taste? Well, where do I start? There's so many conflicting flavours that It's impossible to pick out a theme! The first flavour that is noticeable is that of the milk chocolate which is sweet and obviously not Valrhona or anything like that, but it does the job well, very well. The next flavour that comes through is the bacon which has a sweet character to it - much like crispy bacon. And then strangely the chilli heats up a few degrees and as that subsides the ginger comes through with all guns blazing. Woh that was a strange experience.
I actually like the odd piece of cashew which brings some normality to proceedings. And as you work through it, the kaleidoscope of flavours and textures start to make sense. Perhaps I should go into chocolate consultancy or something - I've got a knack. Ok, maybe not. I don't see this bar adorning the shelves Artisan du Chocolat any time soon. I even think it’s a bit far out for Paul A. Young! I'll be testing the bar out on friends and see what they come up with. But this review is all about the concept. And that it wins hands down. I feel there's a big market for bespoke chocolate bars. And I hope they do well. I think we're ready for them. So if I had a choice again, what would I choose? Well I'd say I'd go for a dark chocolate bar with raspberries, Bourbon vanilla, coconut with nougat pieces.