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Not so long ago I declared that 2008 was the year of chilli flavoured chocolate as I felt that it was really last year that this flavour combination went mainstream. Since then I have covered several manufactures attempts ranging from the simply fantastic Lindt Excellence Chilli to the not so good Milka Fever bar. Today I got my chance to try Zotter's Bird's Eye Chilli - a bar that was billed as 'Noble bitter chocolate filled with chilli cream'. Given the high quality competition I was a little anxious to see how Zotter would do; my recent successes from the rest of their range did give me a little confidence.
This was another standard Zotter bar and came in the usual 70.0g size. The presentation was as ever pretty spot on with the paper wrapper sporting an arty sophisticated look and the thick golden foil wrapper ensuring a pleasant, fresh and unblemished look to the surface of the chocolate. One thing you can always bank on with Zotter products is that you will be treated to some fantastic smells as the foil packaging is unravelled. A mixture of rich smelling chocolaty scents and hints of spice filled me with anticipation - suffice to say it didn't take me long getting stuck into this one.
I haven't had many criticisms of Zotter thus far but I have mentioned a few times that their chocolate hasn't always been as strong in its flavours that I would have like. In previous bars this was never much of an issue as they were generally more about the featured fillings. Things got turned on their heads a little today though as the chilli element was more of a filling enhancer in contrast to the other nougat based fillings which made up the entirety of the filling itself. This of course meant that this bar needed the dark chocolate to deliver - thankfully it did. The cocoa flavours were strong and smooth from the outset and did a fantastic job of creating a wonderful richness with a creamy yet unsweetened taste. The bar had two distinct layers - the outer crisp dark chocolate and the smoother yet still quite firm truffle like centre. Although softer in texture it was the filling that packed the chilli punch. Containing only 0.18% chilli I was initially doubting how much of a say the chilli could have in the taste. My doubt was soon put to bed when my first bite revealed that the chilli element certainly wasn't held back ... boy was it hot. The chilli not only generated a warmth in the mouth but also some very distinct peppery flavours - as a lover of hot food I really enjoyed it and couldn't help but wolf down the whole bar in a single sitting.
Overall this has to be another two thumbs up for Zotter. I don't wish to curse myself but I am yet to try a bad product from the brand and todays bar provided further evidence that when it comes to adding flavours to chocolates these guys know what they are doing. The 70% dark chocolate was of a very good standard and the chilli element was really brought to life with its implementation in the filling. I am not going to kid anyone - this bar may be way too spicy for some - it really does have a devilish kick to it. For that reason my recommendation of this bar comes with an element of caution. If you don't like spicy food stay well away ... if you do ... tuck right in!
8.6 out of 10