May 11th: Theo Chocolate
Again before I start the review today I must thank dedicated Jim's ChocolateMission reader Thea for providing me with these bars you see below. Thea was recently in America and very kindly sent me some of the chocolates that she brought back to the UK. Among her haul she managed to find a brand not featured on JCM before - Theo Chocolate. A little research on the internet (actually a look on their own website HERE), revealed that Theo Chocolate are a Fair Trade, US made, organic producer. They state on their site that they are 'Proud to be the First Organic, Fair Trade, Bean-To-Bar Chocolate Factory in the United States'. I'm sure that impresses a certain audience, but being totally honest with you I couldn't give a monkeys about any of that :-) This was all going to be down to the usual JCM criteria, and Thea sent the following two 57.0g 'Fantasy Flavour' bars to try out:
Theo Bread & Chocolate:
Kcal 260 Fat 19.0g Fat(sats) 12.0g Carbs 27.0g (per 57.0g bar)
'An innovative twist on a traditional pairing, featuring dark chocolate with buttery, toasted artisan breadcrumbs and the perfect amount of salt'. This 70.0% cocoa dark chocolate bar came split into 4 very size-able chunks contained within a thick layer of silver foil. The flavour development started with a mild mannered earthy cocoa undercurrent but like every high quality dark chocolate it grew in intensity as the smooth, well paced melt developed. Sat in the middle of this dark chocolate, small, crunchy breadcrumb pieces gave the chocolate a biscuity type influence. Taste wise the bread didn't added too much as the dark chocolate was so rich it just dominated all. For me, texturally the breadcrumbs added an unnecessary roughness that I simply didn't appreciate. Whilst I still enjoyed the chocolate I would of rather it been sans the bread element.
8.0 out of 10
Theo Coconut Curry:
Kcal 310 Fat 22.0g Fat(sats) 14.0g Carbs 27.0g (per 57.0g)
Well well well! It was a double JCM first with this bar :-) Indeed straight out of the world of Mr Zotter, this Coconut Curry flavour certainly indicated that Theo don't pull any punches when it comes to experimenting with flavour combinations - 'Milk chocolate with toasted coconut and savory curry spices'. Now I love coconut, I love chocolate and yes ... I LOVE Curry!! FYI my usual curry of choice would be a King Prawn Shabba - a hot, dry, pepper spiced tandoori dish. I like my curry hot and always stay well clear of the likes of the Kormas of this world. Whether this played a part in my enjoyment of this chocolate I don't know - for my money probably not as the contexts are so different. Anyways, this milk chocolate bar came in the same silver like foil wrapping and it was noticeable that the inner white paper portion had been dyed yellow by what I only think could have been the spices. Taste wise this was again the case of the chocolate coming across super quality but the inner flavoring not enhancing my enjoyment. The milk chocolate was very, very creamy and had the most delicious vanilla sweetened cocoa taste that kicked off the melt. The toasted coconut was detectable in texture but it's milky nuttyness soon became lost among the wealth of spices that took over the taste. Though commendable for not holding back on them, I feel Theo went a little over the top with the amount of paprika, cinnamon and tumeric that I could detect right of the bat. Compounding my eventual dislike of the curry influence, it was unfortunately a spice that I simply cannot stand that was left as the lasting impression in mouth - cloves *shudders!!!*.
7.0 out of 10
Overall even though I wasn't all that enamored by these particular flavours, Theo Chocolate are a company that have showed some great potential. Both chocolate types sitting behind these flavours were very tasty, so I would certainly be more than willing to try a few more of their products in the near future. One thing I haven't noted yet is the quality of the presentation of these chocolates - it was really top notch, especially for a small company who must be trying to keep costs down somehow given the FairTrade, organic nature of the product. Thanks again to Thea for sending these along. This wasn't the most spectacular debut for a brand on JCM but they've at least left me wanting to try more from Theo Chocolate sooner rather than later.