As I've explored in previous posts (Aug. 20th, 2012; Oct. 22, 2012; Sept. 20, 2015), one of the trends in chocolate-making in recent years has been some serious experimentation. So, when I wander the candy aisles in supermarkets, especially ones with superior selections like Wegman's, I'm not surprised to see different and strange flavors. And so it was a few weeks ago.
All of the chocolate bars discussed in this post come to us from Chuao. Chuao, pronounced "Chew-WOW," is a chocolate-producing region in Venezuela. Michael and Richard Antonorsi both hail from this nation. After chef Michael attended culinary school in Paris, France, he and his brother opened up their business in Southern California. Since, Chuao has become quite successful in the field of artisan, gourmet chocolates. Aside from chocolate bars, bonbons, and truffles, they also market "drinking chocolates," gelatos, and espressos. Currently their products are mostly available in specialty stores, and nation wide groceries like WholeFoods. They advertise their products as being 100% natural--no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, preservatives, or hydrogenated fats. Also their cacao is branded as being, "Ethically Sourced." So, essentially, it's sweets suitable for all your hippie friends. (Well, your vegan friends will balk, probably, but pretty much everyone else.)
I've learned from literally bitter experience that I don't like dark chocolate. Fortunately, Chuao has several exotic milk chocolate flavors. Some of the exotics they sell that I didn't try (because they were dark chocolate, or not available, or were flavors I'd had before) were caramel apple, "baconluxious," spicy maya, and orange-a-go-go.
I'll use my usual rating method. "A" for excellent, "B" for good, "C" for average, "D" for unsatisfactory but barely passing, "F" for failing, with pluses and minuses as required. Also, note hat all the flavors had the actual exotic food(s) in them.
Chuao Strawberry Waffle Wild: B-. A hint of strawberry, but no waffle taste, even with the actual waffles in this. Still okay, I guess.
Chuao Pop Corn Pop: B. Not really a strong popcorn taste. It was salty, and there was a slight "pop" and corn taste, but only a little. Pretty good, but not really the advertised flavor.
Chuao Potato Chip: B. Once again, not a particularly strong taste of the exotic flavor. A bit salty, but I didn't really detect the flavor of the ground up potatoes. Still not bad, though.
Chuao Cinnamon Cereal Smooch: A-. Finally, a Chuao which tastes like it's billed. Reminded me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Tasty.
I was kind of unsure how to score these. Because, as you can see from above, most of these didn't really have the weird flavor listed on the wrapper. If I'd sampled these blind-folded, I don't think I could have differentiated between some of them, or predicted which actual flavor they were. But, and here's the thing--they were all at least good. I suppose most things will still taste okay if you coat them with milk chocolate. However, I can't help being a little disappointed. I was expecting bizarre flavor combinations, and was instead presented with good, but tame variations of regular milk chocolate bars, except for the Cinnamon Cereal variety. So I do recommend them, but with this caveat. They're a bit expensive--about $3 for a 2.8 ounce bar (about 3 inches by 6 inches in size, or roughly 7 cm. by 15 cm). Also, beware that their website's blog has a recent post which contains "Game of Thrones" spoilers.
Just as a reminder, "Creepy Campfire Quarterly Issue #1" will be coming out this Wednesday, January 20th. More info then.