Taste Test: chilli chocolate (aka Screw You Lent)
Now I dislike a certain type of reviewer, the ones who go out of their way to be rude about what they are reviewing. No names mentioned of course, but calm down dear, it’s only a review.
Be negative, criticise, but be fair. Go out of your way to be nasty and well, you just look an arse to everyone.
So here’s a promise I want to be held to – I may be negative in reviews but I will always be fair. There will be no unfair similies.
I got a parcel in the post the other day from Phil and Kay Palmer at the Dartmoor Chilli Farm.
They grow more than 90 varieties of chilli and sweet peppers up there in the wilds and bless them, they’d sent me a selection of their manufactured wares – five bars of chilli chocolate and a jar of chilli jam. Immediately I considered whether it was a) possible and b) desirable for me to eat all five bars myself. In ten minutes. With them smeared in chilli jam.
With what self control I have these days I resisted said urge. Instead, a better plan emerged. Saturday night I went to Exeter to see some friends. I took the chocolate with me for a real, proper, taste test.
Before us were five flavours made using chillies grown by the couple at Rosebarn Nursery near Ashburton, Devon. There were four dark chocolate flavours: plain, orange, mint and coffee. The fifth was chilli milk chocolate.
I have to admit there was a slight disconcerted look on a couple of faces when they saw it, I think chilli chocolate still needs to win people over. But being the trenchermen (and woman) we are, we sat down and got stuck in over a few bottles of Merlot, Tempranillo and Rioja. Screw you Lent.
We didn’t all agree, that is the first thing to say, we were a split panel. Here’s the findings of the Exeter jury, Terry:
Dark Chilli Chocolate: Good stuff. The chilli taste is there but the heat was not overpowering. Nice dark chocolate taste (70% cocoa choc used) with a warm but not hot aftertaste as it went down the throat. Quite moreish, goes well with a nice glass of red wine but would have been just as good with a mug of tea the size of the Taj Mahal.
Dark Chilli Chocolate with Mint: This one split the jury. I liked the way the mint and chilli interacted, which is unusual because usually I don’t much like mint chocolate (or mint in general). But others felt it was a bit too much of a taste clash for them, mixing two such dominant flavours.
Dark Chilli Chocolate with Orange: Again the jury was split over this one. I love chocolate orange, but I was less keen on it with chilli in it. But the others liked it more than the mint.
Dark Chocolate with Coffee: This was the real dark horse (no pun intended) of the test taste. Coffee is usually only found in the Revels that you hope you don’t get, but this stuff was really good. I think it may have been because it was dark chocolate and coffee, rather than milk chocolate, which I think made all the difference – like the difference between black coffee and a latte perhaps. It just seemed to have a nice balance of flavours. I wouldn’t say the others were quite as enamored as me but we all agreed (I think) that it worked well.
Milk Chocolate with Chilli: This one we all agreed on. Sadly, we agreed that we didn’t really like it very much. It just seemed the mix of milk chocolate didn’t work. The dairy taste the milk added to the chocolate seemed to grate against the chilli taste for us. Apologies to the Dartmoor Chilli Farm, but it is a thumbs down for that one.
Overall, it should be pointed out that the morning after the taste test, there was very little of any of the chocolate left, so event the milk chocolate must have been eaten by someone. All that was left was a bar of Dairy Milk one Neanderthal had brought with him and thankfully, barely touched.
I would review the chilli jam as well, but that is still in the fridge awaiting the right moment to dig in. I will review that at a later date – they recommend as a chip dip or on cheese on toast so saving it for when I have those.
PS – everything from the farm apart from the milk chocolate is vegan.