Chocri is a German company that plans to open for business in the US in the new year. Their website allows you to design your own chocolate bars – white, dark, or milk, with your choice of additions, which range from the normal (nuts, fruit) to the more exotic (gold balls, gummy bears, spices).
When they asked if I’d like to order some sample bars to review, I was all “heck yeah,” but as I delved into the site, I began to realize that I am not exactly the ideal customer for this sort of thing. Because A, I have very strong opinions about what flavors go together, and B, I am overwhelmed by too many choices.
So, on the one hand the only things I would be sure I would like were the totally traditional choices like milk chocolate with crispy rice. On the other hand I knew that was totally not in the spirit of the thing. What would be the point of getting a combination that I could get anywhere?
Beyond that, I no longer remember exactly what went on in my mind as I clicked around the options on their site – so many that they claim that more than ten billion combinations are possible. So when the following bars arrived, I thought some crazy person had ordered them:
- White with red rice and mango cubes
- Milk with coconut shavings, candied rose petals and a marzipan rose
- Dark with pecans, sour cherries and orange pepper
Well, on the bright side, they sure aren’t anything you could walk into a store and buy, right?
The first thing I noticed about these bars is that they are larger than they looked to me on the website, and so this also meant that some of the toppings were surprising. Red rice is not small rice crispy things, for example – they’re rice crackers.
Another thing is that the toppings are really on top, not mixed in. (I guess this means if you really didn’t like something, you could pick it off the top. But this would also totally not be in the spirit of the thing.) They are also distributed beautifully but not necessarily evenly throughout the bar. You get big pieces of pecan decorating the top, not little pieces chopped up and thoroughly mixed in.
Now for a little rant: In America, companies that specialize in this sort of thing tend to let the quality of the underlying product slide, figuring it will get lost in the mass of toppings anyway. I’m thinking for example of certain places that specialize in letting you mix toppings into pretty lousy ice cream; pizza tends to be another good example of this.
I was hoping I could expect better of the Germans. I am really not interested in eating a lot of fancy nonsense mixed into mediocre chocolate. Happily, that is not what they are selling.
The white chocolate is particularly excellent, with a great creamy texture and no cheap off-flavors. If you think you don’t like white chocolate, please make sure that you’ve had some that’s as good as this before you give up on it.
As for the toppings I put in this one… the red rice crackers, OK they look cool, but are not really what I want in chocolate. That’s not their fault, it was my choice. The mango chunks are very small, dried and candied tasting. They are fine, and the combination is fine. I have to say though that what I like about this is the bites that happen to have no topping and are just really good white chocolate. Which is, yes, not in the spirit of the thing. So sue me.
The dark chocolate is also good. It’s just a hair sweeter than I like, but the texture is great – I prefer it not too hard and snappy. The pecans and dried cherries are good, and fortunately this one is not a totally insane combination. The orange pepper doesn’t make much of an impression on me one way or another, but that’s fine.
The milk chocolate is my least favorite, but I am very hard to please when it comes to milk chocolate. It has to be much darker than normal, which this isn’t. Candied rose petals add even more sweetness, which this doesn’t need. I’d love to try those with dark chocolate, though.
The marzipan rose is lovely, as are many of the other decorations they offer – these are going to make an interesting gift-giving option for the chocolate lover.
To sum up, despite the fact that they were ordered by a crazy person, I am kind of sorry I mentioned to some other people that I would share these samples with them, especially the white chocolate. I think I may have to temporarily lose track of where I put that one.