Battle of the Chili Chocolate

It was simple.  I have been tasting a few different chili chocolates so I wanted to compare them in a taste test.  Two bars are from our current selection and the third bar was discoverd on a research trip to San Francisco this past weekend.  Here are the results of my chili chocolate showdown:

Rococo Chili Pepper

Rococo Chili Pepper

Since I was familiar with two of the bars, I decided to go with the new bar first.  It is the Rococo Artisan Chili Pepper Bar from the UK.  It is an organic 65% bar that is incredibly creamy.  It tells you right on the wrapper that it contains a high percentage of cocoa butter and you can tell by the mouthfeel.  This chocolate bar uses birds eye chili pepper (aka chili padi), which is a well-known Thai pepper.  It has a relatively strong heat intensity, which definitely shows in this bar!!

When I put a piece of the chocolate next to my nose I could smell the chili pepper, but when I put it in my mouth that was all I could feel.  The heat quickly overtook my mouth and not a crevice was left untouched.  This baby is HOT.  What about the chocolate?  Well, it is very creamy, but I don’t know anything about the taste.  The heat of the chili overpowered my mouth so much that I couldn’t taste anything else.  The heat lingered in my mouth long after the bar left.  If you like heat, then this is the bar for you.  I can’t recommend it for the chocolate.

Nirvana Spicy Aztec

Nirvana Spicy Aztec

Next up was the Nirvana Spicy Aztec bar.  This vegan bar hails from a Belgian company that has a terrific dark chocolate bar so I have high hopes for this bar since they are using the same chocolate and just adding things to it.  It is a 72% organic chocolate with almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and chili pepper.  They do not say what type of chili pepper is being used in the bar.

When I took a piece of this chocolate and held it to my nose, I could not mistake the spicey and nutty notes.  I put a piece in my mouth and could tell the bar has a lot going on.  The heat goes to the back of the throat while the spice heads up nose.  I wanted to savor the bar, but the nuts are cut very chunky and get in the way.  The actual taste of the chocolate itself is hard to discern with all the other flavors, but the flavors blend harmoniously and I was able to enjoy the bar.  This bar is spicy and complex with just enough heat in the right spot for me.

BruCo Ancho

BruCo Ancho

For the final bar in the challenge, I selected the BruCo Ancho.  This bar is from an Italian chocolate producer that makes incredible chocolate.  Their salt tasting bar is one of my favorites.  Ancho is a very mild Mexican chili pepper.  The Ancho bar is a little different than the other two in the respect that it has an inner and outer layer.  The outer layer is a 68% chocolate that covers the 48% milk chocolate inner ingredients that hold the hand-selected ancho chili ganache.  The trick is to put a piece in your mouth and allow it to melt so the chili heat is exposed.

I put a piece of the Ancho bar in my mouth and began to move it around and let it slowly melt in my mouth.  I could actually taste the smooth, delicious dark chocolate!!  Then some heat hit the back of my throat, but I was still enjoying the incredible tastes in my mouth.  This bar is light, smooth, creamy and the heat is sensational.  The heat lingers in the far back of the throat while the delicate milk chocolate ganache slowly reveals itself.

I would love to know what you think of these bars…

Haven’t tried them?  Check out our current selection at Drexelius Chocolates!

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6 Responses to Battle of the Chili Chocolate

  1. Ayrabeth says:

    First off I am a LOVER of the heat so when I was asked to participate in the chili chocolate taste-test I was stoked!

    I have had the Nirvana Spicy Aztec bar and BruCo’s Ancho bar before so I was dying to get my hands on the Rococo Chili bar. Since I knew what to expect from the other two bars I was pleasantly surprised with how different the Rococo bar was. This bar es muy caliente – def not for the faint at heart! I was able to taste the chocolate – it’s very smooth and creamy then the heat kicked in and it lasted! With the other two bars the heat, to me, isn’t as lingering as it is with this one. I believe the amount of cocoa butter (which would help explain for the creamy texture) helps move this heat around a lot more quickly and let it linger a little longer on the tongue. If we were to pick a winner based on the chili factor alone this one would be the winner due to its intensity.

    As for the Nirvana Spicy Aztec bar and BruCo’s Ancho bar – Since I have had both previously to this taste-test I will sum up my feelings for them:

    Nirvana’s Spicy Aztec bar is okay if you want something that isn’t for the savoring. Not to say that this bar isn’t good its just more something you pop in your mouth and snack on rather than letting it slowly melt in your mouth as you enjoy all of the natural flavors this bar has to offer. This bar uses cinnamon and nutmeg to aid the chili in creating the desired heat but the use of the two spices, to me, totally drowns out the chocolate. The bar smells amazing but its spice is not as enjoyable as it suggests to be. The chopped almonds is a nice touch but their rigidness removes the ability for the taster to let this chocolate slip on the tongue. I think this is a great chocolate but mainly more for snacking. The Nirvana company definitely knows how to make an amazing piece of dark chocolate (you guys should totally try Nirvana Dark!) but this one has toOo much going on for me.

    BruCo’s Ancho bar is probably one of my favorites out of all that Drexelius chocolates has to offer. It is just so amazing that it is hard for me to come up with enough words to even say something about it. The Ancho pepper is by far the best chili used in all of the 3 chocolates used for the chili chocolate test taste. How the BruCo company made this bar is simply perfection. The wonder dark chocolate outside with the warm chili nugget hidden on the inside is a wonderful surprise as you work your way through the layers of chocolate. Though the intensity of the this chili isn’t as extreme as the Rococo Chili bar the chocolate its self has just so much more to offer. The use of the dark chocolate outside and the milk chocolate center is just ingenious! The chili infused milk chocolate helps push that flavor around – creating a more enjoyable effect that I believe the Rococo Chili bar wanted with the use of its cocoa butter. I love letting this bar warm on my tongue and I love waiting to hit the chili center.

  2. Anna C says:

    Rococo Artisan Chili Pepper Bar – I started with this bar. I had my bottle of water handy and boy did I need it. I am a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. I took a small piece and I let it melt in my mouth. At first the chocolate was smooth but unremarkable and then the chilies took a hold, like water coming to a simmer but after only a few seconds. I had to sit for a few minutes drinking water after that.

    Nirvana Spicy Aztec bar – I tried this bar next. I liked the texture of the chocolate, like all of the Nirvana bars. This bar was a drop in the bucket in terms of heat as compared to the Rococo but it had so many other things going on for it. There are a few different flavors cruising around including some strong nutmeg that calling it spicy took on a different tone. Spicy being full of spice as well as being hot-spicy. I enjoyed trying to sort out what I was tasting.

    BruCo Ancho – Last, but not least. The Ancho, which I had never tried previously, starts very slow and easy. The dark chocolate shell melts slowly and I was sitting enjoying the taste when the soft and creamy center with a hint of chili revealed itself. I instantly fell in love with this bar (and am taking this one home to be passed around next!). Incredibly subtle, incredibly soft, delicate in its spicy chili flavor and declared, in my humble opinion, the winner!

  3. David C says:

    Three different chocolates with three different chili’s can eventuate to a very “heated” tasting session.

    My story:

    The first bar I came upon was the Rococo Artisian Bar. While the chocoloate itself was pillowy soft at inception, a tastefully yet intrusive inferno quickly overcomes the brief coco flavor before it is able to register and suddenly, you are left with the difficult delimma where you’re not sure you should feel lucky or proud to have survived the whole experience. And also, you’re thinking: “I could’ve sworn I ate a piece of chocolate.. But I didn’t taste any..”

    The next bar I sampled was the BruCo Ancho and let me say that it was a welcome experience indeed. This chocolate bar was very smooth but still very spirited and dauntless, leaving you intrigued and wanting more. And at the end of this wondrous taste fest of creamy coco delight is a surprising reward of warmth as well as to tuck you in at night. There are no words. I love this bar. It’s a must.

    The next and final bar I tasted was the Nirvana Spicy Aztec. Immediately, there was nuts! Interestingly, a very significant portion of this bite of chocolate was attributed to a nutty flavor and texture. Then, there was an array of other flavors that I recognized but could not very easliy identify off hand due to the strong presence of nuts and also the mélange of ingredients that excited and also confused my taste buds concurrently. Included in this symphony of ingredients was a noticeable yet delayed kick of heat that eventually became the sole power, annihilating the other intended flavors completely. And, once again, like the Rococo bar, the taste of chocolate was lost somewhere in mix and very hard to distinguish from the rest.

    My bar of choice:

    I believe the BruCo Ancho is the best of all worlds. It’s classy, it’s sassy, and it’s the winner of this chocolaty chili jihad.

    Go get yourself one…

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