Everyone needs a guilty pleasure. Most people’s guilty pleasure is chocolate. So what’s a chocolate connoisseur to do? If your everyday pleasure is chocolate, how can it possibly get any guiltier?
I know some chocolate snobs who swear by milk chocolate with almonds. There’s something comforting about the crunchiness. Milk chocolate with hazelnuts, too. The fact that it’s milk chocolate is pretty telling; it’s a break from the analytical chocolate tasting that we usually do.
Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about a complete departure from good taste. I’m still not eating anything with waxy fillers or oils masquerading as cocoa butter. But take a decent foundation chocolate, one without too many distinct flavours, and throw some fun stuff in it? Yesssss. Here are three wacky bars that are high on my list for the fun factor.
Theo Chocolate Bread & Chocolate
I loved the Theo Chocolate Bread & Chocolate bar two years ago when I first tried it, and it’s still one of my favourites. You could call it a deconstructed pain au chocolat, or you could just eat the damn thing.
If I were to make this at home, I would buy a baguette and leave it on the counter for a week until every last bit of moisture was gone. Then, I would bash it to pieces, collect the bread crumbs and coat them with melted, unsalted butter. Then, I would take the buttered bread bits and add them to tempered dark chocolate.
Seeing as how I am not about to clean up the mess that the bread bashing would cause, I’m happy to let Theo Chocolate do the work and put it in a cute little wrapper with cats on it.
The crunchiness is like no other; it has a very distinct crispness to it that perfectly complements the melting chocolate. And the buttery finish is completely unexpected, lending a surprising savouriness to the experience. (And psst, the chocolate is certified organic and fair trade.)
Komforte Chockolate French Toast
I bought the Komforte Chockolates French Toast bar because of the label. I love it. As it turns out, the chocolate bar inside is pretty kick-ass, too.
As soon as I opened the foil wrapper, a cloud of syrupy vanilla wafted toward me. The bar itself is milk chocolate with chunks of crispy French toast inside. The French toast is the texture of very thin croutons, and the first taste provides a heady mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. A second later, there’s a decidedly confident saltiness at the back of the palate. The finish is all salt. The milk chocolate is the perfect sweetness and is, really, just a vehicle for crunchy, spiced, salty French toast. The entire experience is highly addictive.
Komforte also makes a Ramen Noodle bar and a Tortilla Lime Salt bar. The Ramen Noodle bar sounds cool but was rather disappointing. I didn’t buy the Tortilla Lime Chip bar, but you’d better believe I will the next opportunity that I get.
Chuao Chocolatier Firecracker Bar
This bar from Chuao Chocolatier boasts chipotle, salt and popping candy, which you might remember as Pop Rocks.
As a kid, I loved Pop Rocks, but they made me uncomfortable. The entire experience of buying and eating Pop Rocks gave me weird tummy rumblings. In retrospect, I think it was the anticipation of the popping: one part nervousness, one part excitement, and one part brain thinking that exploding candy is really quite bizarre.
Well, not much has changed. The first few pieces of this chocolate made me really uncomfortable. That familiar tummy rumbling was back. I put the bar down, only to be inexplicably drawn to it. I tried again. This time, less rumbly. And the third time, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough.
It’s not all about the popping candy, though. The salt draws out the cocoa notes in the chocolate, and the chipotle provides a sweet smokiness up front, followed by a slow burn on the finish. The slow burn is just distracting enough to fill the gap in time between finishing one piece and putting the next one in your mouth.
It’s really sad when you realize you’ve eaten the entire bar in one sitting, though. Not out of some guilty complex that you’ve eaten an entire chocolate bar, but the simple fact that there isn’t any more.
Unless you’re me, and you bought three of them. Mwahaha.