Until a branch opened up in a local mall, my previous experience with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory was looking at their display of ridiculous chocolate dipped candy apples as I ran from one end of an airport to another, usually in Toronto. But in my mind, I had written them off as not really having anything to offer a serious chocolate lover like myself. So when someone gave me a box, my expectations were low, even if the name of the collection, After Dark, made it sound at least interesting. And it sounded even better in French – Noir Intense.
When I looked at the little guide card, it didn’t look bad at all, with six different dark chocolates with sophisticated names, ranging from 61% up to 91%, and some intriguing flavours and centres like ginger, cranberries and, of course, the ubiquitous chili. Plus there was an impressive number of chocolates crammed into box too. So maybe it’s time for rethink about Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory?
Or maybe not. Actually, that might a little too severe because the main issue with the box is that despite the promise of so many different types of chocolate, they all taste remarkably similar. Or maybe that should be unremarkably similar and that becomes really obvious because five of them are presented completely naked without anything else added.
Tsaratana, the 61% chocolate, is really boring. It tastes like so many other bland dark chocolate that I don’t care for, and there is nothing memorable about it. Thankfully Ambanja, the 65%, is a step up thanks for its fruity undertones but both the 72% options, Onyx and Quetzalcoatl, are accompanied by a déjà vu that stops them from being anything but more of the same. Nocturne jumps up to 91% on paper at least because in practise, the strong bitterness fades away really quickly in a way that is surprising. But none of them convince me I need to eat much more.
There are two other varieties of solid chocolate in the box although only one of them really needs to be mentioned – the Onyx chocolate with Hot Chili. Now, I like spicy chocolate. In fact, most of my recent favourites have been in that category, but this one is something else. It is completely unpalatable, like they felt like they should have a chili chocolate and simply threw a bunch in without even tasting it. There’s no balance, no clever slow build at all – it just burns. I couldn’t even eat the second half of the square because it was downright unpleasant. I have no idea what they were thinking.
The rest of the box would have had to be spectacular to rescue it, and it doesn’t. There are clusters of almonds, cashews, cocoa nibs, coconut, ginger and cranberry and they all just taste like stuff mixed into the chocolate. They even look homemade with their little paper cups, and with the right chocolate it tastes like anybody could make these. Plus it is kind of tough to tell them apart until the first bite although that isn’t a huge problem unless you really hate coconut.
So not a particularly inspired collection at all, and that means I’m going to keep running past Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory both at the mall and in the airport.