Saturday, December 15, 2012

Theo Dark Chocolate Peppermint Stick

3oz (85g) bar
Ingredients: Organic fair trade cocoa beans, oft. sugar, oft. cocoa butter, o. peppermint oil, o. vanilla, o. corn syrup, water, sea salt, baking soda
11g sugar/42g serving (26.2% by wt.)

Corporate Info: I've written about Theo Chocolate many times, and in short, it's a great Seattle company making bean-to-bar chocolate and creative, often seasonal confections (you'll see more in-store than online) that are organic and fair trade. You can visit Theo's retail store, order online, or find a selection of Theo's bars at upscale and health food stores nationwide. My only beef with Theo is that I tend to find its usual 70% dark chocolate base too sour as a match for flavorings, but that's a personal taste issue.

Today's Bar: One of Theo's “holiday” bars, its 70% with peppermint candy.

Appearance: Theo's usual long, simply molded bar, in a very dark reddish brown.

Smell: Simultaneously dark and fruity and bracingly minty.

Taste: Chocolate combined with with tiny crunchy crystals of varying size. And it's not as minty as I thought! According to the ingredients list, the chocolate is what contains the peppermint essential oil, while the “brittle” is just sugar, corn syrup, cocoa butter, water, salt, and baking soda. Looking at the candy cane on the wrapper, you expect a rush of strong mint candy when you bite into the very distinct crystals, and it doesn't happen—they're just sweet and crunchy within a somewhat minty and fruity chocolate. That's not bad, especially if you don't want your chocolate to taste like a breath freshener, but it's jarringly counter to expectations. On the other hand, it's sweet but not too sweet, and not a bad match with the mint flavor or the candy's crunch.

Conclusion: Theo Dark Chocolate Peppermint Stick is a medium-mint, fruity chocolate with small, irregularly shaped, flavorless candies within.

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