Next up from Woodhouse Chocolate are their Salty Savory Bars, a package of five small bars of chocolate which they say have been created from a culinary approach rather than a confectionary one. Or, to put it another way, each bar has some salt and some other herbs or spices added. All the bars are dark – I’d guess about 60% cocoa solids, but definitely nothing higher – and they aren’t very big either. That makes them the ideal size for sampling something new because there really isn’t enough of anything to really cause offence. Or so I thought.
Running through the five bars, we have:
Smoked Paprika with Saffron Salt – the delicate flavour saffron salt could easily be overwhelmed, but instead there is just the slightest hint of smokiness which gives it enough space to breathe. Very subtle, well-balanced, and a really interesting flavour combination.
Chinese 5-Spice & Sesame with Sea Salt – a little light on the 5-Spice, or maybe it just never stood a chance against the sesame seeds sprinkled on the back of the bar. That said, the mixture of sea salt and sesame seed is still rather tasty.
Four Pepper & Lemon with Sea Salt – probably the most successful bar in the pack. The pepper starts off slow but builds at a healthy rate as the chocolate melts, all with some sharp citrus lurking in the background. This one almost made me sneeze by the end, but if you are going to put pepper in chocolate, you shouldn’t be half-hearted.
Herbs de Provence with Fleur de Sel – this one just doesn’t work for me at all. There are too many different flavours competing and in the end, nobody wins. Everything clashes and the mix of all those herbs with chocolates just doesn’t taste right. Definitely my least favourite of the bunch.
Chile & Cumin with Pink Salt – this one had a very strong chilli aroma, yet that isn’t really reflected in the taste. There was a smouldering heat which was replaced by a rush of cumin right at the very end as the chocolate disappeared. Not as hot as I was expecting, but to be honest, I’m glad.
So a bit of a mixed bag, but Woodhouse should be applauded for trying out some more unusual combinations even if they don’t always work out. And only one – the Herbs de Provence bar – is something that I’d never want to try again. Definitely an interesting collection suitable for the more experimental chocolate lover.