Weird Flavors and Inclusions in Chocolate

Clay Gordon
@clay
04/30/08 12:56:18PM
1,680 posts
What's the weirdest flavor/inclusion combination you've not only heard of in chocolate but have actually eaten?Inquiring chocolate minds want to know.I will start things off by saying that I think the Austrians are among the most adventurous when it comes to flavors in chocolate.I used to think it was the Spanish when I was tasting the work of Enric Rovira (chocolate covered corn-nuts, pretty good actually) and Oriol Balaguer (the saffron truffles were definitely an acquired taste, and it was a lot of fun to give someone his pop-rocks chocolate without telling them what it was ...).Lately, however, I think the prize has to go to Zotter. I took a look at a bar with an asparagus or artichoke and something or other filling and decided instead (whatever possessed me I do not know) to try the mustard and coffee bar. It wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds, thought it is not something I would buy for myself (I got mine at Fog City News in SF) ever again.There is another Austrian company I have heard of that is making camel's milk chocolate for sale in the middle east. I would definitely try it (at least once) just to know how it tasted different from cow's milk.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 04/12/15 07:45:03PM
Casey
@casey
04/30/08 07:45:23PM
54 posts
The tomato, basil, and mint truffle by B. T. McElrath has been one my top experiences as far as filled chocolates. I also was recently given a sample of a bar from L'Artigiano that was salted milk chocolate with a hint of olive oil, that I would really want to try again and review for The Chocolate Note. I already reviewed McElrath, read it here. I am about to review an interesting sheep's milk dark chocolate from Choco-Lina.Otherwise I've had and enjoyed some of the usual unusuals -- balsamic, curried coconut, habanero, etc.
sabrina hicks
@sabrina-hicks
05/01/08 02:57:15AM
6 posts
hmm, well i didn't think the last bar i had was that strange--lemon, pepper in white. but i think they forgot to label it correctly as puke-flavored. that's a pretty weird flavor.
Clay Gordon
@clay
05/01/08 11:11:18AM
1,680 posts
The folks over at Chuao Chocolatier have a great program where they solicit flavor suggestions from employees and customers. I was out in California about two years ago visiting their then-new manufacturing plant (too big to be a workshop, too small to really be called a factory) and Michael shared with me a piece that was suggested to them this way:A small dark chocolate egg filled with a dark chocolate ganache made with olive oil and flavored with lemon (including the peel) and very small pieces of sun-dried tomato.In a word: YUM!


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Seby Singh
@seby-singh
05/01/08 12:49:18PM
17 posts
A chef who had gone to Italy brought back a bar of chocolate with cactus pear in it. One bite was enough. I couldn't bring myself to ear more as it tasted perculiar at best.
Jeff
@jeff
05/02/08 03:09:00PM
94 posts
Getting Smoked Blue Cheese to actually work was hard. And it certainly qualifies as weird
Clay Gordon
@clay
05/02/08 03:43:17PM
1,680 posts
I cannot believe I forgot to mention that one!


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Sarah Hart
@sarah-hart
05/02/08 07:49:00PM
63 posts
We do a blue cheese stuffed black mission fig on a candied pecan. I guess it is weird, but it rocks! It is all about balance, baby!
cybele
@cybele
05/02/08 10:51:34PM
37 posts
Here are a few of my thoughts on atypical flavors.I think cheese & chocolate are a great combination, though I admit that I scrunched my nose the first few times. (Chocolate as a savory was quite a welcome education for me.)Of course it's not really that surprising. My mother likes to make chocolate dipped cream cheese squares.I've had a few of Chuao's cheese items. (I think a goat cheese & pear william piece was the most recent) and their stout ganache and the olive sphere Clay mentioned.I enjoy Jeff's blue cheese truffle (I ate one last night!) and many of the uses of chili peppers and chocolate. (Though some are far too spicy for me that it kind of messes up the decadent aspect.)I've tried a few of the Zotter bars as well, though I stuck to the traditional flavors ... you know, things like bananas and curry & citron and polenta.I really like Theo's Bread & Chocolate, which has little bread bits in there, a little on the salty side.There are a few chocolatiers using balsamic vinegar - it's kind of like tangy jam in the end. I don't mind pop rocks. The first time I had that combo was at a CocoaBella event when Christopher Elbow & Chuck Siegel made a peanut butter praline' with pop rocks in it. The next year, Elbow came out with his pop rocks bar (I haven't tried it yet, but it's in the chocolate fridge).I think I had someone's chocolate covered spiced corn nuts, but at the moment I can't remember who made them (oh no! my brain is too full of chocolate!) ... maybe that was Chuao as well.I had a sun dried tomato & chocolate piece a few months ago, but honestly, it tasted just like raisins.L'Artisan du Chocolat here in Los Angeles has a kalamata olive, but I think the coolest one was a vodka and cucumber - tasted like "fresh".One of the oddest consumer candies I think I've had (besides durian taffy) would be the Pumpkin KitKat. Not pumpkin spice, but pretty much a squash cream & milk chocolate KitKat.The Root Beer piece from Michael Mischer (which I picked up at your recommendation last week, Clay) is certainly one of the odder combos.Even Koppers has a fun line of chocolate drops called Savouries - cayenne, black pepper, rose, curry, thyme, orange blossom - which isn't really that innovative in today's market compared to some things, but certainly more affordable than many others.Vosges does quite a few uncommon combinations. I like the spices, especially the cardamom truffle called Ellateria, but the wasabi (black pearl) didn't work for me.The whole bacon thing is lost on my as I don't eat pork. I think I'd plotz if I saw something like salmon roe and chocolate.As long as no one starts covering those Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Jelly Beans in chocolate, I think a little trial and error is a good thing.
Brady
@brady
05/03/08 01:00:18AM
42 posts
DeBrands "Sweet Potato Pie" bar was probably the weirdest I've had. Not even sure if they are using actual sweet potatos.
Sera
@sera
05/04/08 11:16:16PM
39 posts
Some combinations I've had which I thought were "out of the box"Vosges's Mo's Bacon Bar: oddly the salty smoky bacons works really well with chocolate. Think chocolate chip pancake breakfast minus the pancakes!Vere's Anise Espresso Bar: The licorice-like flavor of the anise worked nicely with the dark chocolate.Like Cybele, I also tried Japan's Pumpkin (as in actual Kabocha Squash) Kitkat. I LOVED it.I also really love the combination of tea and chocolate. Vosges Matcha bar is really nice, as is Chuao's Earl Grey. I'm just WAITING for someone to do a white chocolate with Chamomile tea.
Sarah Hart
@sarah-hart
05/06/08 10:48:09AM
63 posts
So, what is "weird" to those of us who live and breathe chocolate is probably pretty different from what is weird to the general public. I have noted that there are still many people who come into my shop or by our farmer's market booth who react to some flavors as "weird" that all of us would consider old hat. That is fun, getting to see skepticism turn to enthusiasm, even if it is something very basic to me.When I see what I think is a weird flavor, it is like a mental puzzle-- how did that chocolatier get there--what were they thinking, how does it work? I learn a lot that way. I am still stumped by one flavor I heard of from a London chocolate shop-- tobacco. I can see how that might work flavor wise- the smokey, bitey intensity of tobacco makes sense with chocolate, yes. But what I remember about consuming tobacco (as a teenager exploring "chew") is that it made me barf. So, how does a tobacco chocolate not make you physically sick?
Lauren
@lauren
05/06/08 03:44:26PM
1 posts
The most interesting, unusual, and surprisingly delightful flavor combination I've tried is Theo's Coconut Curry Bar in their 3400 Phinney Line. Yumm.
Saph
@saph
10/30/08 05:40:21PM
1 posts
Weirdest so far was cigar truffle by a Swedish chocolatier. Made from real cigars. As I don't smoke, I could only appreciate the taste intellectually; while it was a good blend, the aftertaste was like licking an ash tray (in my opinion - the smokers liked it).Runner up has to be lobster truffle.
Kerry
@kerry
11/12/08 10:22:02PM
288 posts
In a shop in Bruges called Chocolate Line I tasted a pizza chocolate - sundried tomatoes and olives which was interesting. He also did a tobacco chocolate using the Papua New Guinea Becolade origin chocolate which already has quite a strong tobacco taste. Room for improvement thought.One of the weirdest I've made lately is a ganache with the south indian spices - curry leaves, mustard seed, chili's, coriander, turmuric, sambhar powder and asafedita. It was a love it or hate it sort of thing. I loved it, hubby hated it!


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www.eztemper.com

www.thechocolatedoctor.ca
Ilana
@ilana
11/13/08 12:32:38PM
97 posts
Haven't seen it yet!!!
Ilana
@ilana
11/13/08 12:33:33PM
97 posts
I meant the camel milk bar!!!
FTonly
@ftonly
11/13/08 04:19:29PM
3 posts
I've also tried the Vosges bacon one. This is basically a play on the salty-sweet idea. (Like the whole white chocolate w/caviar that came out a few years ago within the context of molecular gastronomie). It was not bad (at first) but the bacon lefta long, lingering aftertaste that I found to be bitter and unpleasant. I feel that this is the sort of inclusion that can really distract someone from the quality of the chocolate- a good thing if/when the chocolate is mediocre...I guess; more likely a waste of really good chocolate. What I'm saying is that while saltiness can complement chocolate, it can also confuse the taster and take the fun out of searching for subtle hints and notes. That said, I've been enjoying some of those "fleur de sel" bars lately. Anyone else? I find that to be a lot more straight forward than the bacon; just play with the salt and forget the pork. The chocolate can then shine through.
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
11/20/08 11:59:32AM
251 posts
Have any of you tried Vosges new Enchanted Mushroom bar?Organic dark chocolate + reishi mushrooms + organic walnuts. 66% cacao.I'd especially like to see Susie Norris' reaction.
david castellan
@david-castellan
05/01/09 11:36:47AM
12 posts
i recently was given Kimchi chocolate that is made by a company in Koreait is more bizarre than disgusting tastes like the flavor packages of instant noodles mixed with white chocolate and coated in Dark...
Molly Drexelius
@molly-drexelius
05/01/09 01:15:00PM
16 posts
i have been given bars from Japan, but I cannot read the package! I know one was green tea -- it was like a KitKat bar covered with infused white chocolate. Not something I'd go for again. There was also a bar I think was tiramisu and another that was coffee. Both were candy sweet and were layers of milk and dark.I recently tried an olive oil truffle at the FFShow in SF, but I didn't like the combo -- i look forward to trying some of the items mentioned here!
updated by @molly-drexelius: 09/09/15 01:07:39AM
ChocoFiles
@chocofiles
05/01/09 04:05:43PM
251 posts
I tried this Vosges Mushroom bar in Feb 09 and I didn't like it at all! Not because of the mushroom, I couldn't even taste that. It's mushroom powder, not pieces. It was just weak, and I didn't like the walnuts.I rated it 2 out of 10. Way too expensive for what you get.
Malena Lopez-Maggi
@malena-lopez-maggi
05/01/09 06:39:38PM
13 posts
It's taken a while to perfect our Kalamata Olive Caramel, but by jove I think we've got it. It's our second-bestselling flavor now.www.TheXocolateBar.com
Molly Drexelius
@molly-drexelius
05/01/09 08:29:08PM
16 posts
well, i love olives so it's a good bet i'll try this one!
Nancy2
@nancy2
05/05/09 02:45:25PM
5 posts
hello all,I think the most adventurous I have been is some dark chocolate, soft truffle with chili powder in it----just a local company. The other one I have tried is dark chocolate with green macha in it, not bad either.I have never tried the Austrian ones, where can one buy them outside of Austria and what brand do you suggest?for all your fave sweets and more...candy
Nancy Nadel
@nancy-nadel
01/23/10 04:00:53AM
13 posts
I make three unusual combinations regularly and a fourth I will only repeat on request because it is so complex and filling - may as well describe that one first - it's a 70% cacao Jamaican chocolate (floral at first, nutty at finish) molded cube filled with sorrel chutney that has vinegar, garlic, sorrel, raspberries and I forget what else. Two of the others also have the same chocolate shell ingredients but one is filled with lime pepper jelly, straight out of the jar by Busha Browne to promote another Jamaican product. The other is my own recipe, a chocolate barrel shape with a rum soaked raisin (Jamaican rum of course) swimming in curried sweetened condensed milk. The last one is a ball of 60% ganache rolled in a mix of crushed blue corn chips, chipotle pepper and roasted Jamaican cocoa nibs. I love those.
Kerry
@kerry
01/23/10 09:14:14AM
288 posts
These all sound quite fabulous!


--
www.eztemper.com

www.thechocolatedoctor.ca
Scott
@scott
01/24/10 02:26:51PM
44 posts
Pig's blood ganache from Xocolatl de David.
Sarah Hart
@sarah-hart
01/24/10 03:26:36PM
63 posts
I agree that Xocolatl's Pig's blood ganache is weird - but I have tried it and it works. It took me a while to screw up the courage to taste it but I trust David, he is good. And the blood/chocolate connection is not so far fetched, really, if you think about it.I love the sound of all of those Jamaican chocolates. YUM.
Kristina
@kristina
01/24/10 03:30:50PM
21 posts
The owner of a small chocolate shop in Zrich made a big mistake giwing me some truffs with olive ganache as a bonus to my purchase. I would had bought quite a fiew when gived the opportunit to try - what a great harmony with chocolate.Our local chocolate company was experimenting at the beginning - I was pleasantly suprised by garlic fillig. They still offer truffels with cheese (seemingly blue), but I guess they don't care about matching a lot and "just ecotic" might be interesting just one time. Beer fillig wasn't bad, though, but probably it was too much or too little exotic...I am quite curious to try sprikled chocolates by Bachhalm (Austria). He uses rose, hepatica and lilac petals etc (as well as ginger and haselnuts or grapa infused grapes) pairing them with a chocolate cuvee . Maybe not really weird :) but quite promissing.Maroon filling for truffels isn't very common as well - and it makes a great taste!
Scott
@scott
01/25/10 11:00:34AM
44 posts
I don't disagree. (I have a jar of his foietella on my desk right now, actually.)
Seby Singh
@seby-singh
01/25/10 11:28:08AM
17 posts
I tasted the camel's milk chocolate at the New York Chocolate Show and liked it so much that I bought quite a few bars to give as gifts to friends. To me, it was just a good piece of milk chocolate and enjoyable. The sellers were German from Dubai.
Casey
@casey
01/24/11 10:33:17PM
54 posts

I saw the just published article from Travel & Leisure, they've got about a dozen "strange" flavors listed, many of which have been mentioned already in this thread.

The most intriguing sounding new one was the kimchi covered chocolate...

btw, I recently tried and reviewed the Al Nassma camel milk chocolates, interesting...

btw2, Clay is quoted a lot in this article, which was written by Jessica Su of the Su Good Sweets blog.

Casey
@casey
02/11/11 11:28:53AM
54 posts

From a sea of chocolate

http://on.fb.me/eEr4nK

Wendy Talaro
@wendy-talaro
02/14/11 01:33:53AM
1 posts
No, not weird at all. You have to try that blue cheese on a fig from a 'Sultane' (aka Sultana, Grosse de Juliet, Noir de Juliet, and Dark Sultane)fig tree. Not all figs are alike - as it is with all ag products, the cultivar can make all the difference in the world!
Mary-Ann Donnolo
@mary-ann-donnolo
02/14/11 02:48:27AM
3 posts
We make Jalapeno brownies, cinnamon and chilli brownies, and orange brownies. Some like them, some don't eat that flavor at all. The best selling one though is the orange brownie. Funny, I made up the jalapeno ones about two months ago and just saw it shown on TV lately. Great minds and all, I guess. ;)
Hanna Frederick
@hanna-frederick
02/14/11 08:43:57AM
4 posts
I might be late to reply, but I have made in the past 3 years beer stout, smoked NZ venison salami (something for non-pork eaters) and deer velvet chocolates. Only the salami has a strong taste. half of tasters spit it out, 1/3rd loved it - including myself. My green tea-wasabi has been a hit with Asian customers. As it was said: the balance is the secret. On the more traditional side, a prune based plum Slivovitz is causing taste waves where I live now: Australia. I still like traditional taste, but the press loves crazy selection!
Jenny Bunker
@jenny-bunker
03/03/11 11:24:02PM
10 posts
Pepper and smoked salmon truffle. The pepper was nice but the fish, not so much.
Sebastian
@sebastian
03/04/11 06:17:01AM
754 posts

1. Chocolate covered squid in asia

2. Bacon fat, solidified and enrobed in chocolate, in Georgia (the republic of, not the state)

Louis Varela
@louis-varela
03/26/11 05:58:15PM
7 posts
The two most bizarre ingredients: tobacco and Habanero chile. Chocolate with tobacco essence smelled like horse manure. Chocolate with habanero oil was so hot it made my nose run. Both were custom-ordered.
Laura Marion
@laura-marion
03/27/11 06:22:06AM
27 posts
i had a truffle with real black truffle in it once mmmm it was very odd
updated by @laura-marion: 09/10/15 04:37:00AM
Diane2
@diane2
03/27/11 12:25:43PM
4 posts
I have a customer who roasts garlic for their fine food store. They asked me to do a chocolate with the garlic. I was not sure how it would turn out or whether the taste would be disagreeable but actually since roasted garlic is very sweet, it is nice in a dark chocolate ganache. i decorated with a bit of grains of paradise which was nice with the garlic.
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