Toronto’s Soma Chocolatemaker has been one of my favourite chocolate makers for some time. Their 70% Chuao bar is still amongst my all time favourites, although subsequent batches weren’t quite up to the same standard as the one I wrote about in my review.
That’s not really surprising though. The first Chuao bar I had was spectacularly good, but consistency is a huge challenge for any small batch bean to bar chocolate maker. Each batch is treated slightly differently, and a minor difference in the beans or the chocolate making process can have a big effect on the flavour of the finished bar.
This particular bar has two added flavours – salt and pepper – so minor changes in the flavour of the chocolate might not be quite as noticeable. It’s a difficult combination to get right though; salt can lift the flavour of chocolate, but too much and it becomes inedible. Combined with the heat of pepper, it would be easy for it to end up being more savoury than sweet.
As you can see from the photos, it’s an interesting looking bar. On one side are the traditional chunks, but on the other, it’s covered in flakes of Maldon salt and a deep orange Alleppo pepper. It certainly looks exciting.
Of course, with a random scattering of spicing, each chunk tastes slightly different, but overall the balance of flavours is good. The salt comes first, then the heat of the pepper builds, but never becomes overpowering.
Disappointingly though, the chocolate itself isn’t that great. Although the wrapper states that it’s of Peruvian origin, it neglects to mention what percentage of cocoa solids it is. It’s rich and chocolatey, with a lovely smooth texture, but it’s not particularly complex. In fact, there’s really not much to it at all. In the back of my mind I’m wondering if the salt and pepper have been added just to make it a little more… interesting.
Overall then, it’s a bar that’s most notable for the flavours that have been added rather than the chocolate itself. It’s not something I’d recommend buying, but luckily Soma do have a great range that are worth spending money on. I just wish they were a little easier to get outside of Canada.