A friend asked me the other day why I don’t ever write about any fun chocolate. Apparently all my recent articles have been rather serious. I was immediately a bit defensive, countering that all chocolate is fun but I suppose she did have a point. After all, most people just stop off at their local supermarket to pick up a bar of chocolate rather than searching out a locally made bean to bar creation. So here’s my attempt at a fun review.
I’ve had some Chuao Chocolatier bars before, or at least a few nibbles from an accommodating friend (a different, less judgemental one…), so I was quite happy that the majority of their range has turned up in a local shop. And since I was looking for something fun, I selected their Firecracker bar because it has popping candy and what’s more fun than popping candy?
Chuao is headed by a pair of Venezuelan brothers, Michael and Richard Antonorsi, and their focus is on creating unique bars of chocolate with unexpected flavour combinations. That means that the focus is more on what is mixed into the chocolate rather than the chocolate itself, although it is a serviceable 60% cocoa solids which leaves more than enough space for spices and the like. In the case of the Firecracker bar, the main flavour comes via chipotle and pasilla chile peppers which add some smokiness and just the slightest touch of heat. And then there’s a touch of salt which helps to punctuate the whole experience, and also draws a bit more depth out of the chocolate. But really, it is all about the popping candy.
I’ve had chocolate with popping candy before, but there’s a crazy amount in here – breaking the bar reveals that it is positively studded with the stuff. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt, the popping takes over at an alarming rate and the bar really lives up to the latter half of its name. There were even a couple of occasions when I bit off a corner and the level of explosion I was greeted with made me jump just a little.
The bottom line is that this really is a fun bar of chocolate. What it lacks in fieriness, it makes up for with its all out attack on the interior of your mouth. And it is pretty tasty too. It also works as a great introduction for those trying to enter a more adventurous world of chocolate because it is very different but not in an intimidating way. Plus it is a lot of fun. So there.