August 26, 2008
TCHO Chocolate

A few weeks ago, I saw a piece on TCHO Chocolate that the Boing Boing peeps did. I learned that TCHO chocolate is supposed to be next-gen chocolate. Obviously, I had to give it a try. I bought a sampler pack of 'chocolatey' and 'fruity'. See I don't do all my shopping at 7-Eleven.

The chocolate shipped overnight in a silvery thermal bag with cold packs inside to keep things cold.

Inside, the chocolate was in small paper satchels, each with 50g of chocolate inside. It's the first candy I've eaten that came with instructions. The package design was neat looking with the strange motto 'NO SLAVERY' on the back.

The ingredients are cacao beans, cane sugar, cacao butter, soy lecithin, and vanilla beans. For those that don't know, soy lecithin is what keeps the cacao butter from separating out from the chocolate.

The 'chocolatey' is Ghanaian chocolate. My father has traveled to Ghana several times and brings back the local chocolate. It's great tasting stuff.

The 'fruity' is Peruvian chocolate. I can't recall that I've specifically eaten chocolate from Peru before, but I was going to try it now.

I put the chocolate into bowls for sampling. TCHO recommends that you try the 'chocolatey' before the 'fruity'.

Besides myself, also sampling were my wife, Michel, my daughters, Zoe & Mira, and their friend Teddy. I enjoy dark chocolate. Michele prefers milk chocolate. And the girls will eat anythign we tell them is candy.

First we tried the 'chocolatey'. The chocolate immediately filled my mouth with flavor and richness with almost a bitter taste. It wasn't sweet at all. Michele said "It tastes like dark chocolate." The girls said "It's supposed to be sweet!"

Next, we tried the 'fruity'. The reactions here were even more varied. To me, this chocolate wasn't as strong as the first. I could pick up something different, but I couldn't place the flavor. Again, there is very little sweetness to the chocolate. Michele was more blunt. She thought it was "terrible" and "sour". The girls didn't like it either.

They walked away and left me with the chocolate. I wanted to reset my taste buds a bit, so I looked for somethign salty. I sucked on a few sunflower seeds and tried again.

After my taste of salt, I tried again. No huge change, but I did let the chocolate melt on my tongue and started to taste the subtlety, but it's not anything obvious.

For my taste, I want a sweeter chocolate. I can see what people are saying about the richness of flavors, but without the sweetness, it's just not chocolate to me, it's like tasting a bit of cocoa powder. Obviously the girls want nothing to do with it.

The TCHO chocolate will likely be big success with chocolate connoisseurs, but I think the average person won't like it too much.

My two suggestions for TCHO are:

1) Mark the chocolate bars so you can tell them apart. Once out the bag, they look exactly the same and it's easy to get mixed up.

2) Make a version called the 'sweet' for us hoi polloi that aren't enamored with the austere bitter/dark version

Posted by michael at August 26, 2008 07:54 PM

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