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Candy Review: Dolfin Chocolat au Lait Hot Masala Bar

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Gourmet Candy

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Dolfin Masala Bar

A side-effect of doing the Great Chocolate Experiment posts is that I’ve become a lot more inclined to try unusual chocolate bars when I see them in stores. After all, if even my hopelessly amateurish attempts at candy-making can make unlikely combinations like garlic and chocolate taste good, then how much better will a professional chocolatier’s efforts be? So, when I found this Dolfin Chocolat au Lait Hot Masala bar in Montreal, I decided to give it a try.

According to the Food Lover’s Companion, masala is “a word used throughout India for a spice blend with myriad variations. It can refer to a simple combination of two or three spices (such as cardamom, coriander and mace) or a complex blend of 10 or more ingredients.” Masalas, especially the most popular variety, garam masala, are often used as a spice base for curries. Chocolate and curry couldn’t be any worse than chocolate and pickles… right?

Once I’d brought the bar home, a look at the ingredients quickly dispelled my hopes of rocking the chocolate/curry combo. The bar’s spices of cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, cloves, ginger and vanilla were more consistent with a different type of masala – tea masala, used to make the popular sweet beverage known as masala chai, usually just called chai in North America. Now, I love a good cup of chai almost as much as I love a good plate of curry, so I wasn’t really all that disappointed.

Dolfin Masala Bar Unwrapped

The bar comes wrapped in a sturdy plastic envelope, handsomely decorated with Dolfin’s crown logo. This unique packaging makes it very easy to eat a couple of pieces and then save the rest for later – perfect if you’re a candy saver like I am. The glossy milk chocolate bar is divided into six sticks, each patterned with a delicate line design. It has a mild, milky smell, like a Jersey Milk bar, with a hint of chai spices.

When the chocolate is bitten into, the spices are immediately apparent, combining as well with the very milky chocolate as they would with the hot milk in a cup of chai. The bright notes of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves come to the forefront, while pepper and ginger add the spicy finish that gives this bar its name. The texture of the bar is very light – I get the impression that it contains tiny air bubbles, like the ones in an Aero bar only finer, that give it a soft, very slightly frothy texture. (Though other people I shared it with didn’t notice anything, so perhaps it’s just the thinness of the pieces that’s giving me this impression.) The chocolate also has a slight and not-unpleasant grittiness from the ground spices.

I’m usually not a big fan of milk chocolate, which I often find cloyingly sweet and heavy. But this bar’s won me over – Dolfin has taken everything I don’t usually like about milk chocolate, namely its sweetness and lack of flavor complexity, and turned it into an asset by giving it a light, almost ethereal texture and making it the base for the more intense flavor and heat of the masala spices.

So if you like chai, or milk chocolate, or even if you don’t like either of those things, you should definitely give this bar a try. It may not be the exotic combination I was looking for, but, in the end, I discovered something just as good – a bar as warming and satisfying as a hot cup of chai.

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3 Responses to “Candy Review: Dolfin Chocolat au Lait Hot Masala Bar”

  1. 1
    Robby says:

    What an thorough and intelligent review for a product that seems complex in its own right. I am not a fan of Chai (though I love me some curry), but the way you described it with the blend of flavors makes me want to give it a try. Hopefully I can find it here in the States.

  2. 2
    Cadence says:

    This sounds really luscious. I’m intrigued by the complexity of the flavors. And I love that they managed to balance the spices in such a way as to enhance, rather than overwhelm, the chocolate. Thanks for letting us in on the yummy goodness.

  3. 3
    Chew Lin says:

    I am currently finishing up the masala bar (sweet and milky, though not quite as spicy as an authentic chai) but my favorite is their pink peppercorn bar. Do track it down and give it a go!

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