Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Week of Weird Flavours: Chocolate Wasabi plus Milk Chocolate with Raspberries and Popping Candy?!

While I was out shopping this week, I found some strange chocolate bar flavour combinations and thought: “Oh why not?”. I decided to venture out of my chocolate comfort zone and to give them a try, despite being quite sure that I was not going to like either flavour.

The first was a Hammond’s Crackle Crunch chocolate bar containing “Milk chocolate with raspberry popping candy”.  Although this chocolate bar was displayed at Chapters, which is known for selling tasty, gourmet chocolaty treats, I immediately thought: “Raspberry flavour and milk chocolate? These people are crazy!”  Personally, I believe raspberries should be paired with dark chocolate. And sometimes raspberries pair well with white chocolate because their bitterness can offset the sweetness of the white chocolate (and they provide a beautiful contrasting colour combination!). But raspberries with milk chocolate? Never.  I find the sweetness and milk flavour just does not pair well with raspberries and I have not yet enjoyed a chocolate combination containing those two flavours.

But the reason why I bought the chocolate bar was because of the popping candy.  Since I have only ever tried one chocolate-and-popping candy combination (by Toronto-based chocolate maker Soma) and loved it, I was excited to try another ‘explosive’ chocolate combination.

What was the result?  A really fun-to-eat chocolate bar!  I actually liked the raspberries and milk chocolate, even if it was a little too-sweet.  And the popping candy made it a fun treat to eat.  Just don’t look at the ingredients, or you might not try it!  It is a little heavy on the artificial stuff – which I normally avoid but decided to ignore for the sake of having a little kid-like fun with my chocolate.

The second chocolate bar that I tasted this week was Lindt’s new Wasabi Dark Chocolate bar. It is funny because I am often thinking about what food flavours would pair well with chocolate.  Wasabi is most definitely a flavour that I never thought about pairing with chocolate.  And now that I have tasted it, I still believe that it is not meant to be paired with chocolate!

But that said, I am not a Wasabi fan.  Most flavours and spices that I have tried in past years I have liked.  In fact, the ones that I have not liked (i.e. curry) at first, have grown on my over time.  Wasabi is one of the few flavours that has not yet grown on me.  And believe me, I have tried to like it.  So if you are a big fan of Wasabi spice, you might disagree with me and LOVE the Lindt Wasabi chocolate bar.  Because really, the success of a flavour pairing is really just dependent on the preferences of the individual consumer.

What’s more, Lindt’s Wasabi chocolate bar immediately attacked my sneeze trigger.  I took a bite and I wanted to cry and to spit it out at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Lindt and the smoothness and consistency of their chocolate (despite being a true believer in small-batch artisan bean-to-bar chocolate), but I am not on the Wasabi-chocolate bandwagon just yet. But who knows....maybe it will still grow on me in time.

Here are the package details from the two chocolate bars that I tasted this week:

Hammond’s Crackle Crunch Milk Chocolate with Raspberry Popping Candy, 2.25oz (64g)
Hammond’s Candies, Denver, CO (U.S.A.)
Ingredients: Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, milk, soy lecithin, salt, vanilla), carbonatd crystals (sugar, lactose [milk], corn syrup solids, artificial flavor, artificial colors [red 40, blue 1], Processed with Carbon Dioxide.  Contains soy, and milk.  May contain traces of wheat, egg,peanuts and tree nuts.

Lindt Excellence Wasabi Dark Chocolate Bar
Lindt & Sprüngli
Ingredients:  Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, milk ingredients, artificial flavour, soya lecithin.  May contain peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

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