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Chuao Chocolatier

Dec
12



Chuao Maple Bacon

I must confess, I have a big soft spot for Chuao Chocolatier. Back ages ago when I was a newbie candy blogger, Chuao was one of the first “artisan” chocolates I ever tasted. I was immediately in love, and all the people at Chuao have always been so friendly to talk to. Ever since then I have been following the chocolates they make very closely. My frequent readers probably notice that I eat a lot of my chocolate candy with a cup of coffee. Chuao makes chocolates specifically designed to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. They make the flavors, shape and thickness of the chocolate bar perfect for eating with a cup of coffee. These chocolate bars are called Chocopods. Over the years they’ve been adding and experimenting with all sorts of flavors and varieties. So today I am reviewing two of their newest flavors.

Chuao recently just went through a re-design of all their packaging. They used to be solid colors with just nice lettering on them. The new updated look is going much more in style of the Vosges Haute Chocolate bars have had. Super enticing food photography with a clinical white background and bold lettering. It’s a very “in your face” type of style, as you can see right away the flavors and ingredients used in that chocolate bar. I do not work in marketing so I can’t say if this style is more successful than others, but I do know it’s incredibly eye-catching. 

Let’s see how they taste:

Maple Bacon: “Crisp bacon, delicate maple sweetness and a bonfire smoked sea salt, bathed in milk chocolate”. The chocolate is a pretty middle brown wit ha gorgeous glossy sheen. The aroma is dominated by a strong smoky scent of the bacon. It’s a sweet smoky smell, but you do get that aroma of “meat”. It’s really interesting. The flavor starts out chocolatey, then the salt of the bacon starts to come though. The saltiness really enhances the flavor of the milk chocolate, and it comes across as even sweeter and creamier. Once that creaminess subsides you can taste the smokiness of the bacon. The flavor isn’t of bacon per se, but you do get that “smoked meat” essence to it. It’s a lot tastier than I expected and not at all as extreme as I feared. It’s a really nice blending of the two flavors and it comes across as a unique, but still, tasty milk chocolate bar.

 

Chuao Honeycomb

Honeycomb: “luscious amber honey, caramelized into crisp bits and enrobed in dark chocolate”. I unwrap the candy to find a beautiful dark chocolate in the shape of a cacao pod. The chocolate smells richly of coffee, cherries and wood. The first bite is incredibly flavorful. You can immediately taste the honey and the sweet honeycomb. The pieces of the honeycomb are really crispy and sweat and is a nice compliment to the smooth chocolate. The chocolate has some subtle fruity flavors of red berries and cream. Just astounding how delicious this bar it. The flavor of the honeycomb and the sweet chocolate really combine into something very different and very tasty.


I really loved these two Chocopods. I think if I had to choose a favorite of the two, it would be the honeycomb. But it’s hard to pick favorites, as each are so unique and appeal to a different flavor profile. I’m sure that on a different day when I was craving saltier and more smokey foods I’d choose the Maple Bacon. Still, the point stands that these are both super yummy, and if you happen to see them, I highly suggest giving them a try. 


Rating: Will Buy Again

Will Buy Again


Links Chuao Chocolatier Website


Nov
21



Chuao Chocolatier Potato Chip Bar

When I was very early in my candy writing career, Chuao Chocolatier was one of the very first “gourmet” chocolate companies that I became very well acquainted with. Back then I wrote for Candyaddict.com, and easily wrote several articles regarding Chuao’s extensive chocolate line. Since then, I’ve done my best to keep up with the new chocolate bars and flavors they’ve introduced. Now that I live in Los Angeles, visiting one of their cafes is also on my to-do list. The point I am trying to make is I’m a big fan, and I was very pleased to find one of their newest bars in Cost Plus World Market recently. May I present, the Potato Chip Bar. 

Yes, you read that right. Potato Chip. I really admire how Chuao Chocolatier, much like Vosges, just goes there with their more offbeat flavors. They branch out from the stranger chocolate flavors (like sea salt and chili) that are slowly becoming more mainstream. Flavors like honeycomb (the candy variety), panko, and even pop rocks are fair game to Chuao Chocolatier. The bar comes in an eye catching wrapper that is in the style from their “classic” range of chocolate bars. It goes from golden to bronze. The shapes of cacao pods decorate the edges, and the wording on the front is centered and clear. 

The chocolate is a pretty medium brown color. On the back, you can see the light yellow flecks of the potato chips blended into the chocolate. The chocolate has a nice snap, but the break is not clean. The potato chips cause some rough edges and crumbling.

The the flavor starts out very creamy and sweet. The milk chocolate has intense flavor of milk, cream and caramel. It’s a very milky milk chocolate. You get some really nice chocolate flavor once the milky notes dissolve away. It’s a little sad, because as soon as the chocolate flavors arrive they’re immediately drowned out by the saltiness and flavor of the potato chips. The chips are pleasantly salty and have that nice crisp, starchy flavor. It stands out alone to me, as it doesn’t really mingle with the flavors of the chocolate since it appears right at the end. It’s a little disappointing since I wanted a chocolate and potato chip experience, but the flavors read separately so it’s hard to really get the together. The only way I found to resolve this is to later bites at once, but I don’t like feeling I have to gobble a chocolate bar to get the intended flavor fusion.

This bar is unique and that’s something I really appreciate. I liked the saltiness the bar had, but after eating this bar for a bit made me wonder if potato chips are the best way to get that salty kick in a chocolate bar. They do add a subtle starchy flavor to the chocolate, and also a slightly crunchy texture. Like all candy, such a preference depends on the person. You have to try it to find out if you like it, which I encourage to do with this bar. Plus, there’s the bagging rights of having eaten a chocolate bar with potato chips in it.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again


Links Chuao Chocolatier Website


Nov
17



Chuao CoCo Bar

I loooovvvvveeee Chuao Chocolatier and since I missed out on the few candy/food shows this year, I didn’t get to see what their new chocolate bar was this year. Well, my patience was rewarded when I walked into Wegmans the other day and saw this bar sitting on the shelf: the Chuao CoCo bar.

What goes into new CoCo bar isn’t exactly simple. According to the description, it’s dark chocolate with coconut, almond, cinnamon and coriander. This sounded like an intriguing mix of flavors and textures to me, so I was very excited to try this once I brought it home.

Tearing into this sweet treat as soon as I could, I was able to detect the The bar smells very strangely of the coconut with a edge of spice to it. You mainly smell the coriander, but the cinnamon gives a warmth to it. The chocolate’s color is a nice rich brown with a subtle sheen.

The flavors starts off sweet with notes of the coconut and cinnamon. Then the warmer notes of the coriander and almonds mix in. Then to top it all off, the rich notes of the dark chocolate with warm fruity notes enters and blends all the flavors on your tongue. The taste of this is awesome, but the texture is odd. It’s extremely gritty, as I get the coconut strips and bits of the almonds. It’s less like eating creamy chocolate and more like chewing a granola bar. I’m not sure I like that.

As delicious as this bar is, it’s really the texture that ruined it for me. But, if you don’t mind not having a super smooth chocolate bar, the flavor of this is excellent and unique.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links Chuao Chocolatier Website


Dec
08



Chuao Chocolatier Firecracker Bar

Chuao Chocolatier was one of my biggest discoveries back when I was beginning to expand my horizons with candy tasting. I first tasted their work at the All Candy Expo in 2007 and was immediately hooked. I believe it was the Spicy Maya ChocoPod that I tried first and had sold me completely. Since then I have eaten my way through all their offerings and was excited to learn of a new chocolate flavor that they cooked up.

The newest member to the Chuao Bar and ChocoPod family is the Firecracker: dark chocolate, chipotle, salt and popping candy. What a fascinating combination! It certainly fits the company motto of “Unusual Unexpected & Delicious”.  Another point I’d like to make is that Chuao use the Venezuelan chocolate El Rey for all their confections. This is part of the reason why it stands out to me so much, since I am a big fan of the El Rey couveture.

 

Chuao Chocolatier Firecracker ChocoPod

The bar smells chocolatey and spicy. There’s a heat to the aroma and it’s hard to lay my finger on exactly what it is.

The chocolate is firm and has an excellent snap. Upon the first bite, it’s briefly sweet, then you feel the popping candy start to crackle on your tongue. The tingling sensation from the candy holds your attention until the chipotle kicks in, and I must say, this is the strongest chili presence I’ve had in chocolate to date. It’s a very smooth, smoky and powerful burn that matches the 60% bittersweet chocolate well. It leaves a burn still even once you’ve swallowed, and you can feel the heat all over your mouth and throat. It was never too much spice, but it’s certainly not for the weak and delicate.

This is an excellent example of how chocolate can be a medium of delivering interesting flavors while not directing too much attention to itself, and still be delicious.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links
Chuao Chocolatier

 


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