I fear I’m doing the hard-working folks at Chuao Chocolatier a disservice. I love their Chinita and Spicy Maya bars, and pre-blog brought five of each back to Australia after my last U.S. excursion. Yet since starting this blog, my experiences with Chuao have engendered little more than a lack of enthusiasm. I do think the Firecracker has an interesting premise, and that the bar reviewed below is pleasant enough. The problem is that I feel no desire to eat either again – and that makes for a sad chocolate blogger.
Chuao Caracas Dark Chocolate with Almonds, Hazelnuts and Pistachios
Chuao’s Caracas bar comes in both dark and milk varieties, but it should surprise no one that I bought the dark version. Chuao uses a sweet 60% for its dark chocolate base, with the sweetness particularly evident here as there are no kooky flavours blended into the chocolate itself. Instead, Chuao liberally scatters whole almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios throughout the bar:
I can’t fault the aroma; it puts me in mind of rich hot chocolate before moving towards brownies baking the the oven – sweet, uncomplicated, chocolatey. This follows through in the taste, with my first impression being brownie batter (the kind made with real melted chocolate and butter, not a packet mix). The issue for me is that the flavour never moves beyond this basic sweetness, and in fact reminds me of being twelve years old and sneaking handfuls of Nestlé Choc Bits to eat while I played The Oregon Trail on the computer (You Have Died of Dysentery. Would You Like to Play Again?).
Look, that’s a happy memory. And this is nice and uncomplicated chocolate, with large, plentiful, and fresh nuts abounding:
I would have liked the nuts to be roasted and thereby have a stronger flavour, but there is no denying that each nut was crisp and, well, nutty. The almonds and hazelnuts held their own the best, whereas the pistachios tended to be overpowered by the chocolate’s sweetness. (My kingdom for more Vestri!)
For all that this bar is pleasant and easy to eat, I can’t help finding it a tad boring.
It’s kind of like that polite boy who took you out to dinner a few times but was too shy to take your hand at the end of the night. He’s nice enough, but you want a little pizzazz, a little assertiveness, and that little something that makes you look twice and then come back for more…