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Candy Review: Theo Filled Chocolates

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Theo Chocolates box

Theo is so environmentally-politically-correct that one of their bars has a picture of Jane Goodall with a chimp on it. Their products are made with fair trade and organic ingredients. That’s all very nice, but what you want to know is: How do they taste?


These are a little larger than most company’s bonbons – large enough that a person like me, who usually cuts a really good, expensive filled chocolate in half to save some for later, can cut these in quarters and still enjoy them. Other good qualities of the presentation: They are all rectangular or square, further aiding the cutting-up process, and they are decorated differently and come with a flyer identifying and describing them.

The fillings are all described as ganaches. Ganache is basically cream and melted chocolate whipped together, but not for so long that it turns into whipped cream. Some of these don’t have chocolate in them, but they are nearly all that kind of very soft, melty texture. No hard work chewing caramels or crunchy nuts, here.

VANILLA: Cutting this open surprisingly reveals a chocolate-colored filling, not a white one. So, since nearly all chocolate has some vanilla in it and you don’t really taste it, one might wonder what the point is. Well, one would be wrong. There is an intense taste of vanilla – of vanilla bean, like the description says, not vanilla extract. This is a different and unexpected and really, really good use of what many people would (wrongly) think of as a boring flavor.

LEMON: The description, “like floating on a lemon chiffon,” is silly, but I can appreciate being moved to excess with this one. Kind of like lemon meringue pie if lemon meringue pie were actually good. I don’t think of lemon as something that naturally goes with chocolate, but this is great. I am sad just writing about it, now that it is gone and I can’t have any more.

GINGER: Described as being made with both fresh and crystallized ginger and I actually think I can taste both of them, with that extra sharp taste of the fresh ginger root that’s cooked out of candied ginger. This is one of my favorite flavor combinations and this one is done exceptionally well.

BURNT SUGAR: The description claims that “this dark caramel-custard will change your idea of a true caramel.” I don’t know about that – I think this is just a different thing from a more traditional caramel, and I don’t want one to replace the other, I want BOTH. There is nothing custardy about this, but think of the burnt sugar topping on a creme brulee without that stick-in-the-teeth texture. Very nice.

FIG FENNEL: This one is “garnished with fennel pollen,” which is just ridiculously pretentious, and this is the one that impressed me the least. This is definitely a chocolate with fig in it, but it doesn’t rise beyond the sum of its parts.

SCOTCH: “Bowmore single malt.” Yeah, this tastes exactly like it has one of those nasty smoky single malt scotches in it. If you like those, you can have this one, I don’t want it.

MINT: Made with “fresh organic local mint,” this is nothing like what you probably expect. Instead of the mint-oil taste of something like a Peppermint Patty or Thin Mint cookie, this tastes like when I go outside in the garden and eat a mint leaf right off the plant. It’s interesting, but I don’t know what I think of this combination. Um, could someone send me more so I can continue my research?

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY, PEANUT BUTTER: They are really into their peanuts at Theo, apparently. I am not such a big fan of peanut butter and chocolate. The plain peanut butter flavor isn’t sweet enough for me. The peanut butter and jelly is truly excellent – a very intense layer of fruit flavor combined with a peanut butter filling that’s like if a fancy chef made a Reese’s cup. It is still not the kind of thing I am crazy about but I have to admit, it is good. The fillings in these two are firmer.

EARL GREY: This tastes amazingly like Earl Grey tea, and I would not have expected this to be a good combination with chocolate. I am a big enough person to admit when I am wrong.

COFFEE: This was not my favorite coffee-chocolate combination in the world – I think perhaps the coffee is too burnt, as those Seattle people (that is where Theo is located) are prone to doing.

I think a couple of these got snarfed up before I could take notes, but you get the picture. Whatever flavor they say, they mean it, no kidding around. This means that if you don’t like scotch you won’t like the scotch flavor – it’s not just a suggestion of the flavor. But if you do like the flavor in question, like I said – WOW.

According to the website, this box of 12 pieces costs $26.40 and I assume the shipping is excruciating – I don’t know, because I was lucky enough to get this as a gift in return for a big favor I did for a friend. I am definitely looking out for an occasion that justifies splurging on these – and some more friends who need big favors.

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2 Responses to “Candy Review: Theo Filled Chocolates”

  1. 1
    mione says:

    That’s a rather rude comment about how us Seattle people like our coffee.

    What I do know is that Theo also works with a very local, non corporate coffee roaster.

    It is probably a case if you don’t like your coffee black or a true full bodied coffee, you won’t like it. You have to appreciate true coffee flavors to appreciate the coffee.

    They are a great company and I highly advise coming out to Seattle so that you can visit the factory. Even if you don’t take the tour… you can sample all the chocolate you want in their store.

  2. 2
    Rachel says:

    Seconding the ‘come to the factory’ comment.

    There are unlimited free samples, and you can go out on the factory floor during the tour (which may be too elementary for you, with lengthy explanations of the chocolate process).

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