Sunday, April 06, 2014

Chuao Chocolatier

I know I've had chocolate from Chuao before.  But, I absolutely can't find my tasting notes anywhere.  So sadly, I have just one review here, but it is a fun one.

Chuao describes themselves as "pioneering 'fusion chocolate' through a commitment to creating unusual, unexpected and delicious flavors using their secret blend of premium chocolate and fresh natural ingredients."

They make bon bons, chocolate bars, and mini-bars, in really intriguing varieties.  They nailed the "unusual" and "unexpected"bit of their tagline.  Sure, they do make ones with fairly standard fillings like nuts, caramels, or the ever trendy bacon.  But they get far more interesting than that.  For example, the crunch in the "Salted Chocolate Crunch Bon Bon" comes from toasted panko breadcrumbs, and the filling is an olive oil ganache.  It is finished with a sprinkle of sea salt.  To spice things up, the "Firecracker Truffle" doesn't just have a chipotle caramel fudge filling, it also has popping candy.  There is another one with goat cheese, pears, and a black peppercorn buttercream.  The one I really want to try is the "Pop corn pop bar", with puffed whole grains, toasted corn chips, and popping candy.  How ridiculous does that sound?

Booze also seems to be an theme, providing the inspiration for flavors like one with Napa Valley Cabernet, a margarita flavor complete with tequila, or a mojito.   They also offer chocolate pairing suggestions, based on your beverage of choice: red wine, white white, sparkling, or even whisky.

The product line is rounded out by drinking chocolates, chocolate barks, and chocolate covered orange or ginger slices, or, if you are in the San Diego area, they also operate a couple cafes with gelato and pastries too.

The name comes from Chuao, the chocolate producing region in Venezuela, where the founders are from, but the company is actually located in Southern California, hence the cafes there.

As I said, I know I've tried their chocolate in the past, and found it memorable, but I can't find the notes from other tastings.  I'll gladly try it again another time though!
Potato Chip Choco Pod.
In addition to full size chocolate bars, Chuao also makes mini-bars, dubbed choco pods.  These are really the perfect size.  Bigger than a bite, very satisfying, but not guilt inducing.

The potato chip bar is described by "crisp kettle cooked potato chips and a hint of sea salt, mix and mingle in milk chocolate."

I somewhat expected this to be a chocolate covered potato chip.  I'm not sure why, I guess due to the shape when I felt it inside the wrapper?  So I was surprised when I bit in to find a chocolate bar with little bits of potato chip inside instead.  Once I knew what to expect, I continued on in my tasting.

The milk chocolate was smooth and creamy, high quality.  The chip bits provided a nice crunch.  It reminded me of the Krackle bars I used to love when I was younger.  But I'm not sure I would have known it was potato chip.  The best part was the finish, very salty.  In exactly the same way that you don't want to put down a bag of potato chips, you don't want to put this down.  It is a good thing it came in choco pod size, not a full bar :)

They nailed the creamy quality milk chocolate base, and satisfying crunch, and the salt level in this one.  I enjoyed it, and I'd love to try more of their varieties.
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