On a cold and rainy spring afternoon, I ventured into town and into the depths of John Lewis’s food hall to meet the man from Zotter and sample his wares. That’s him in the picture. And the man with the chocolate covered face is Josef Zotter himself.
Zotter are a bean-to-bar organic and fair trade chocolate maker from Austria. They source all their beans from the Americas and as you can see, have some fairly interesting ideas about flavour combinations.
The first chocolate I’m going to look at is a 70% dark chocolate filled with nougat and 7.27% pork crackling. Yeah. You heard me. That’s significantly more pork crackling than you get in your average bar of chocolate.
The actual format of the bar is quite interesting too. Rather than being divided into chunks, it’s a single, thick slab with lots of filling.
The blurb on the inside of the wrapper recommends you let the chocolate breathe at room temperature for a while, then cut it into small pieces. So rather than attempting to stuff the whole thing into my face (my normal reaction to bacon-based products), I did exactly as instructed.
The chocolate on this bar is quite thin and the filling soft, so it’s quite difficult to sample it in isolation. It doesn’t have much of a gloss to it and the aroma of the filling dominates, but the taste is light and slightly fruity.
The filling – described as nougat – is predominantly a hazelnut paste with a little bit of cinnamon. Oh yes, and crispy chunks of bacon.
It has to be said that the bacon doesn’t add as much flavour as I’d hoped. In fact, there’s hardly any flavour from it until the chocolate and hazelnut have melted away. Then you’re left with a mouthful of tiny pork scratchings. But still, there’s no overt saltiness. There is a little bit of a fatty taste to it, which perhaps isn’t the most natural flavour to go with the chocolate, but it’s not offensive at all.
The main thing the bacon bits add to the bar is texture. A satsifying crispy crunch that reminds you you’re eating meat-chocolate. The overall effect is actually rather nice, but I can’t help thinking that the bacon is a little bit of a gimmick. It’s a tasty bar, but aside from the crunch, it doesn’t add much that couldn’t have been achieved with more traditional ingredients.