TCHO first came to my attention when Xeni Jardin from Boing Boing mailed us to share their series of videos shot at the TCHO factory in California last year. You can see those videos here, here and here. If you haven’t seen them, I thoroughly recommend taking the time to do so – they’re a great insight not just into TCHO, but the artisan chocolate industry as a whole.
Having not heard about them for a while, I was surprised to find out that our friend Paul A. Young has done an exclusive deal to import TCHO into the UK. They were showing them off at the recent Chocolate Unwrapped event, and I took the opportunity to steal a few bars from Paul’s stand while he wasn’t looking…
As you can see, the bars are square, similar to the Thorntons blocks, but at 60g, these are a little smaller. The packaging is simple but rather beautiful, with spiragraph style patterns on the cardboard box which opens out to reveal the bar enclosed in gold paper. Very stylish.
Rather than adding flavourings to their chocolate, TCHO use a ‘colour wheel’ to describe the natural flavours the chocolate has. In addition ‘Nutty’ bar, there are also ‘chocolatey’, ‘citrus’, ‘fruity’, ‘floral’, and ‘earthy’. All adjectives you’ll find used to describe any good quality dark chocolate. TCHO deliberately don’t talk too much about origin or percentage (although this is a 65% cocoa solids bar). They see the flavour – the finished product – as being more important.
Despite the name of this bar, nuts aren’t the predominant flavour. It’s quite intense, and the main flavour I picked up on was like a black coffee. As the chocolate melts, it becomes sweeter and fruiter, then fades back to a slightly more bitter, earthier taste which is left with you after the chocolate has gone – something I wasn’t particularly keen on myself.
The texture of the chocolate is very appealing. It’s a thin bar and breaks with a satisfying snap, but starts to melt the instant it hits your mouth. You don’t need much, but it’s really quite moreish.
I also have the ‘chocolatey’ variety in my stash, so I’m going to save some of this to do a more direct comparison when I review that bar.