This week, I am in Edinburgh where a friend has tipped me off to the existence of The Chocolate Tree, a local place selling handcrafted certified organic chocolates. I grabbed a few of their interesting-looking bars to try. £5 got me three little taster bars of 48g each (the bigger 100g bars are £2.40 each).
This first one of the bars I tried is quite exciting for me, as I am quite partial to milk chocolate, but most of the chilli chocolate I’ve seen is made with dark chocolate. Even though I prefer milk chocolate, I find that the dark chocolate flavour sets off the spicy chilli flavour nicely, so I was curious to see what would happen here.
The packaging is very simple and the Celtic design looks slightly hippie-ish, in keeping with both the handcrafted and organic theme. The labels look significantly less slick than your average artisan chocolate and not even in a conscious pseudo-rustic way. If I saw these side by side with the more expensive bars, these would probably not be my first choice.
I was quite taken by the design of the bar itself, though. When I first looked at it, I thought it might not be a bar at all but individual, disconnected squares held together by the cellophane wrap. When I opened the packaging it turns out this was, in fact, a solid bar with the squares forming a sort of deliberately mismatched, displaced whole. Pretty.
The chillies in the bar are apparently of the bird’s eye variety and crushed. Unlike some of the other bars in the lot I’d bought, there weren’t any visible traces of the chillis, so I didn’t expect there to be much of a kick to the bar. I was so wrong.
This bar has a real kick to it. More than any other bar I’ve personally tried (though I’ve obviously not tried all of them). I class myself as fairly in the middle of the spicy food tolerance scale and this bar was not unpleasantly strong, but certainly poignant. The chilli kick was certainly noticeable with every single bite and blended remarkably well with the milk chocolate that was rich, sweet (but not sickly) and of blatantly fine quality and texture.
If I buy a flavoured bar of chocolate, I like to really get a hefty dose of the flavour that made me buy it, so I was really happy with this bar. All in all this is a lovely chocolate bar that’s unpretentiously packaged but really delivers where it counts. If you have a low tolerance for spicy foods and are looking for more of a hint than a wallop, though, you may find it quite challenging.