Way, way back in Australia, back in the land before time*, back when I was still waking up each morning feeling like an elephant seal was sitting on my throat, back before I took a deep breath and stepped on a plane to The Overseas, my beloved friend Helen (whom you likely know as the magical queen of Grab Your Fork) somehow managed to notice the quiet humming of my emotions through the internet ether and sent me a care package filled with wonderment and joy.
* Why is it that even though I haven’t seen The Land Before Time since I was a tiny tot, and can barely remember the movie as a whole, the thought of it still makes me want to cry? So much more devastating than Bambi, y’all.
Helen, you are a true gem. The flavoured sweet coffees and Teh Tarik packets brightened up my final days at work immeasurably, and the Ovaltines took me right back to primary school. Thank you.
However, the most exciting element of your perfect parcel was the camel milk chocolate. (Even though, no, I couldn’t quite tell if it was one hump or two.)
Al Nassma Camel Milk Chocolate with Spices Arabia
Before you ask, yes, this Al Nassma chocolate truly was made with camel milk. And yes, this did give me moderate heebie-jeebies. For those interested, the ingredients involved were sugar, cocoa butter, whole camel milk powder, cocoa mass, honey, spice blend, and bourbon vanilla, and the marketing blurb described the chocolate as “the ultimate flavour of the desert and the quintessence of sweet delight”.
The aroma of Al Nassma’s camel milk chocolate was heady in spices, sugar, and something… different. Tangy, almost, like cultured butter or goat milk, but not quite either of those things. In terms of the spices, I picked cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. Chai spices, I thought, but after perusing the website I found that this particular bar is called “Camel Milk Chocolate with Spices Arabia”. So Spices Arabia then, not chai spices.
Once I plucked up the courage to take a bite of this camel milk chocolate, the flavours I noted were warm spices and a light floral sweetness. And then, and then, ever-present, I tasted the not-quite-pin-downable tanginess, the cultured yoghurt flavour that might be the hallmark of camel milk.
I have to say, though, excitement of camel milk aside, I did write “a bit like apathetic fudge and insipid hot cocoa” in my tasting notes. Overall, this chocolate was too sweet, too lacking in cocoa strength and depth, to be something I’d go out of my way to buy again.
However, the novelty of camel milk chocolate was brilliant, and both my mother and E.Moonbeams were heard to cry “I taste camel!” upon taking a nibble. It’s probably worth being able to yell that at least once in your life, right?