I’ve always been a sucker for cool packaging, so when I was given a slender wax paper envelope which bore the name of everyone’s favourite Canadian chocolate maker, Soma, I was very excited.
Chocolate and Friends is a collection of nine flat discs, each made of dark chocolate of an undisclosed percentage – I’d guess 60% or thereabouts – and an added ingredient (or friend). And that’s about it.
There’s not much to them and they are delicate enough that one got cracked during their journey to my hands. For some peculiar reason, the first thing that jumped to mind when I saw them all laid out was Communion wafers, and I could try to come up with a laboured metaphor about worshipping at the altar of Soma as I ate them, but I won’t. Here’s the rundown of the different flavours.
This is a good match simply because the sesame seeds fit nicely into the little circles of chocolate. . And roasted sesame seeds also bring in a nice flavour.
This was the real surprise in the collection. The dark red beets added just a touch of sweetness and earthiness and is something that I would like to taste more of. There must be someone out there making Beet Truffles – please get in touch…
There’s very little to complain about when freeze dried raspberries and bitter chocolate are brought together, so this was very pleasant indeed. Yum.
The problem with using discs of chocolate which are only a couple of millimetres thick is that there isn’t much room. So the pieces of pistachios within are very small and don’t give much in the way of nuttiness. Or to put it another way, big chunks of pistachios are always better.
49th Parallel Epic Espresso
Another unsurprising combination, but still one which turned out to be a highlight of the envelope. Just dark chocolate and intense, ground espresso beans, but a great blend nonetheless.
Java Cocoa Nibs
Again, a tried and trusted combination of crunchy nibs and dark chocolate. Good stuff.
Roasted Tartary Buckwheat
Adds some crunch and not a lot more. There was a little bit of nuttiness as an aftertaste, but this was my least favourite of the discs because of the ordinariness.
As with my previous encounters with smoked salt, I found this to be a bit overwhelming especially when accompanied by not very much chocolate.
I’ve had one of Soma’s full-size bars which was liberally sprinkled with Aleppo Pepper, so this was just a little reminder of that. This had a nice amount of heat, with just a bit of smokiness. I would quite happily pick up a whole bar like this again.
So while this is a very cool presentation of their chocolate and a nice way to get a little taste of Soma, there are too many things here which are your standard combinations. I’d have preferred some weirder and wilder flavours thrown in and have this be a testing ground for new ideas, but it does function well as a sampler for newcomers to all things Soma.
Veterans like myself would be better served by picking up some of their favourite bars instead.