Our sophisticated traveller and chocablogger Simon can take a break from his weirdo cedar sap and absinthe chocolates and fancy-shmancy trips to Qatar and Milan and instead stay home and scoff some Creme Eggs because I have finally found something intriguing, bizarre and foreign.
Well, foreign and far away for me, anyway. Hachez is German chocolate company that was actually established by a Belgian chocolatier, Joseph Emile Hachez, in 1890. To this day they use Ecuadorian cocoa beans shipped over to Bremen in jute sacks ready for roasting, rolling, a three day conching process and being made into classics such as their brown leaves, teddy bears and easter eggs.
Hachez have also developed a range of chocolate products that appeal to the connoisseurs amongst us – Cocoa de Maracabo at 55.5% cocoa solids; D’Arriba at 77% and Premier Cru (sounds like the name of a tween boy band) at a fairly serious 88%.
However, this time it was the flavour that appealed to me – cherry tomato salt. We know that salt sprinkles in chocolate can do a lot to enhance the bittersweet cocoa flavours, but what about tomato?
The chocolate, as expected for 77%, was almost black in colour and the burnt coffee smell of serious cocoa was certainly evident when it was unwrapped.
My co-taster was Channel Nine reporter Elise Mooney from the television news program ‘A Current Affair’ as we wanted to be filmed trying something odd and this certainly fit the bill (and you can see the film here).
The chocolate was bitter, almost a bit too saliva-suckingly so, and the salt crystals appeared on the palate halfway through the experience adding an unusual, but not entirely complimentary, flavour. Instead the chocolate is too pungent for the salt to enhance and would in fact work better if more sugar was added.
As for the tomato, neither of us could taste them. We were aware that there were some tiny chewy bits in the chocolate as it melted away but they could have been nibs or coconut shreds for all we knew. The ingredients list provides some comfort in not being able to spot the tomato as they only comprise 1% of the bar and are followed by apples and then salt. Hmmm.
We then shared some with Stan the Sound Man and Ben the Camera Guy. “Yeah, I can taste the tomatoes”, Ben said eagerly but Stan merely shook his head and asked for something to wash his mouth out with before observing, “But Kath, Ben also reckons that Cadbury Dairy Milk is the Be-all and End-all of chocolate.” Good point, Stan, good point. This block serves for curiosity purposes only.