January 30th: TABASCO® Spicy Chocolate-McIlhenny & Company

Kcal 537 Fat 30.8g Fat(sats) 15.4g Carbs 53.8g (per 100.0g)

Before I kick off this review I have to say a big thank you to my friend Liz from Foodstufffinds (See HERE). Liz aka @Cinabar on Twitter, was kind enough to send me this chocolate today as a Christmas gift last December. With the ridiculous amount of chocolate sent my way last December, I've only just got the time to sit down and write a proper review on it - considering the proposition I felt it was one that deserved some full attention.

According to Wiki 'TABASCO® sauce is made from tabasco peppers (Capsicum frutescens var. tabasco), vinegar, and salt, and aged in white oak barrels for three years. It has a hot, spicy flavor'. Indeed, TABASCO® sauce is something that I frequently use as an ingredient and as a condiment to add a bit of spice to food ... savoury food that is :D It isn't something that I think any of us would naturally have assoiciated with chocolate, however the US company 'The Chocolate Traveller Inc' obviously had other ideas.

The chocolate came packaged in a tin bearing the traditional McIlhenny & Company Tabasco sauce branding and contained eight segmented 'spicy dark chocolate wedges' within. The chocolate had a relatively sweet cocoa smell that reminded me of hot chocolate powder and showed no indications of containing anything untoward. The experience however really started upon tasting the chocolate, and the TABASCO® content was certainly not withdrawn or lacking. To speak firstly of the quality of the dark chocolate, it wasn't anything remarkable, though it was step up from my expectations and had a richer, earthy cocoa taste than the expected mass consumer friendly unsweetened milk chocolate I had predicted. To be honest all thoughts regarding the quality of the chocolate were rendered an after thought once the TABASCO® influence came in to play, which was around the time of mid-melt. At this point a pleasant heat sensation was created in the mouth, and the taste took on a more bitter peppery focus that lasted until the end melt and for a little duration after. Consultation with my fellow taste testers revealed that they were split right down the middle on whether it enhanced or spoilt the chocolate.

Overall if you posed me the simple question of whether this chocolate was a thumbs-up or thumbs-down I would give you the very unhelpful answer that it was a thumbs-in-the-middle :D Frankly I was pretty ambivalent towards it. It was fine for what it was, though I'm not sure it was as flavoursome or subtle as say something like the Lindt Excellence Chilli. One thing I can 100% confirm though is that it was a chocolate that was very interesting to try and it created a great deal of talkability amongst us all that tasted it. For that reason I would categorise this chocolate with a lot of the Japanese Kit Kats I try. Just like flavours such as the Wasabi, Green Tea etc they aren't always the best tasting, but they are always a good bit of fun to see what they are like, and how a brand has attempted to integrate them into chocolate. I would give this TABASCO® Spicy Chocolate a recommendation, but on it's novelty factor rather than it's chocolate quality.

7.3 out of 10