September 14, 2010, by CocoaZilla
Chocolate Chili Bar Taste Off
Ever tried a chocolate chili bar? Or a chili chocolate bar? How about 12? Yeah 12. Cocoazilla gathered up 6 people (and herself) and made them all sample 12 different kinds of chocolate chili bars. It’s pretty epic. There are even graphs. So which chocolate chili bar should you just go out and buy rather than subject yourself to the chocolate chili tummy ache the team endured afterwards? Read on my chocoholic friend…
The 12 varieties of chocolate chili bars came from 11 different chocolate candy companies from all over:
- Lindt Excellence Dark Chili
- World Market Chipotle Chili
- Dagoba Xoxolatl
- il Cioccolato di Bruco
- Lindt Creation Cherry & Chili
- B. T. McElrath Chile Limon
- Vosges Red Fire Bar
- Moonstruck Chile Variado
- Theo Spicy Chili
- Lake Champlain Dark Spicy Aztec
- New Tree Piment
It’s not scientific research if there aren’t any graphs! Respondents were asked to rate each of the samples (blind taste test- no labels!) on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being low and 5 being high) on the following factors: Bitterness, Smoothness, Spiciness, Saltiness and Overall Quality. Below are the averages for each sample across the 7 respondents.
?% Cacao $3.50 for 3.5oz.
A rather mid-spicy to low spice entry and an OK overall dark chocolate quality. Respondents found this entry to be mid-range and forgettable. Buy it at Target for less if you’re just starting out in this world of chili flavored chocolate.
64% Cacao $1.99 for 3oz.
An in store only purchase and surprisingly the most spicy. Unfortunately, the spicy level is high- not in a good way like an Atomic Fireball with sweetness and smoothness, but a painful-no-more kind of way. The spicy made it difficult to enjoy the dark chocolate which was pretty standard in the bitterness and smoothness departments.
74% Cacao $3.00 for 2oz
Another disappointing entry, the dark chocolate was dry, not dark chocolate bitter good and the spicy was almost non-existent. To be fair the wrapper does say 74% which is a nice high cacao level but overall as a chocolate bar, it’s not so great in cost vs. quality. Other Dagoba taste tests have unfortunately proven along the same lines. Beautiful photography on the site though.
68% Cacao $4.00 for 1.25oz
Picked up at a specialty grocery store with a box almost all in Italian, it’s hard to tell what the goal was with this chocolate candy. If it was tasting good, tasting like chocolate, tasting like chili or being edible, it failed. This was by far, hands down the worst sample of the 12. Avoid at all costs. The site is all in Italian and with the help of Google translate, found that they refer to the chocolate as the “chocolate caterpillar.” Perhaps more than one thing was left behind in translation.
67% Cacao $3.50 for 5.3oz
A second Lindt entry, mostly because of the uniqueness of the flavor. The dark chocolate is pretty standard in the bitterness and smoothness and the soft cake like bottom makes it moist and tasty. The cherry filling adds a nice tang of sweetness, but as for the chili flavor, it’s nowhere to be found just like on their website. The sweet jelly flavor made the team forget about the awfulness of the previous entry.
?%Cacao $4.95 for 3oz
A Minnesota husband and wife team operation started in 1996, this particular bar is a blend of milk and dark chocolate in addition to the chili and lime flavors, our only example including milk chocolate and was one of the grittiest. But at the same time, the team overwhelmingly agreed it was one of the sweetest. Overall though, the quality of this bar was judged to be higher than most with a good spicy tang that doesn’t hurt.
55% Cacao $4.00 for .50 oz
The most expensive per ounce of the entries, it was also voted one of the best- as it better had be for “haut chocolate!” It also had one of the lowest cacao percentages, was smooth, spicy and had hints of cinnamon. If you spring for the full size bar though, be prepared to shell out at least $7. Best bet- go for one of the mix and match mini packs at $12.50 for 6.
68% Cacao $3.50 for 2oz
Hands down, a gorgeous, easy to navigate site that is tempting me to try more. This chili chocolate bar was certainly one the prettiest entries, nice clean, crisp triangles, imprinted with moon slivers, wrapped in delicate gold paper like origami. The chocolate scored high in bitterness, smoothness and spicy overall and scored well with Cocoazilla personally.
70% Cacao $4.00 for 3oz
A local fair trade favorite that’s catching on fast, Theo Chocolates comes in with mid-high scores across the board, making it one of the most approachable chocolate chili bar entries. If you’re going to step into the world of Theo or chili and chocolate, this is a quality way to start or add a bit of spice to a fancy party tray without making you guests cry in chili pain.
55% Cacao $4.00 for 1.25oz
A 26 year old Vermont company that started out with just truffles, this bar included pumpkin seeds in with the chili spice, which had a low tone in the overall chocolate bar. Good bitterness, smoothness and overall quality. The pumpkin seeds felt a little out of place, but a welcome unique addition. A bit pricey but this bar was Cocoazilla’s top pick.
65% Cacao $7.00 for 3oz
A company that prides itself on organic and whole bean chocolate, this was by far the weirdest entry as it was packed with flax seeds. (Great crunch though!) Not something you usually find in a chocolate bar, let alone a chili chocolate bar. It was also one of the most expensive- not worth $7, but I would pay $5. The spicy notes were low and the bitterness seemed low for a 65% cacao bar but the overall chocolate quality was good. I would have added a link to the product, but I’m still waiting for the flash on their site to load.
50% $3.00 for 9oz
A little bar out of Switzerland, Teuscher, a 70 year old chocolate making company has a line of odd little flavors- including a pink peppercorn chocolate that will be reviewed later. The spicy chili flavor was pretty non-existent and at 50% cacao, low bitterness with a high smoothness which lead the team to determine a higher overall quality of chocolate but nothing really remarkable.
End result? The il Cioccolato di Bruco was overwhelmingly the bottom choice, the Theo bar won the hearts of the group, Cocoazilla liked it, but preferred the Lake Champlain version best.