Back in July 2014, I endeavored to cut out a lot of sugar from my diet – things like cold cereal, sugar in my tea, cookies, cakes, pastry, etc.
One thing I haven’t given up is chocolate. No way. No day. I’m a veritable chocoholic. Some of you will probably call me a food snob, but I’ve cultivated a taste for organic dark chocolate, around 70-72 percent cocoa content. Go any higher and I think the chocolate starts to taste chalky and kind of like eating a teaspoon-full of baking chocolate. Blech.
Go any lower and chocolate becomes sweet enough to kick me into overdrive with how much I want to consume.
Along with my abiding jones for chocolate, I’ve developed an affinity for chocolate with chili. Chocolate w/ chili started getting popular a few years back – though don’t quote me on the exact time frame (although I distinctly recall a scene in the 2000 film Chocolat when Vianne, played by French actress Juliet Binoche, added chili to her chocolate to woo Roux, played by Johnny Depp, and cast a spell over the townsfolk of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain).
Doing some online research, I found pairing chocolate with chili is a centuries-old tradition of the Mayans and Aztecs. Plus, those who enjoy mole’ sauce may be aware it’s made with chocolate too. Well, it’s online research – take it for what it’s worth, folks.
I’ve tried to do my own unscientific research on the best chocolate chili bars. I typically have one or two pieces in the afternoon, paired with unsweetened Earl Grey tea. The bergamot in the EG tea seems to enhance the taste of chocolate and the heat of the tea matches the heat of the chili and allows the chocolate to spread beautifully over the tongue, deepening its flavor.
My passion was first fired when I ate a Trader Joe’s chili cinnamon chocolate bar that was part of holiday chocolate flight gift. I saved it for last since I thought it was going to be dreadful, like its counterpart, chocolate with potato chip shards, salt and pepper. That was truly nasty. There’s only so far you can take gourmet, I think.
But TJ’s chili cinnamon bar was by far the best bar in the package, in my opinion. The chili was delicious and the cinnamon seemed an essential part of what made it delectable. I’ve longed for another bar since December and they’re just not something TJ’s carries off-season. Guess I’ll have to wait until next Xmas.
So here’s my opinion about the chili chocolate bars I’ve been able to find (by no means exhaustive – rather a delightful work in progress):
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Chili & Cinnamon