Weird chocolate combinations are not unusual to the chocolate world.
Every year there are different trends that amuse and surprise chocolate lovers. For example, 2016 saw the rise of Japanese flavors, while in 2017 chocolate makers will experiment with vegetable inclusions. Professionals are working at the edge of flavor to innovate. If consumers are going to like the results or not, that’s another story.
Some chocolate combinations are appreciated by pretty much everybody.
One of the all time favorite inclusions is SEA SALT. There is a reason for it: adding salt intensifies the body’s ability to taste sweetness in the sugar. Salt manages to alert sensors in the intestines and the tongue that normally don’t alert to sugar. It becomes a second sugar detector and it enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
Today consumers also go crazy for CARDAMOM. Chocolate bars with this inclusion like the ones from Rozsavolgyi Csokolade and Rococo Chocolates disappear from shelves quickly. Both the black and green versions of this spice native to India are extremely popular these days.
Some other chocolate combinations don’t receive great approval instead.
Great expertise is in fact required to create a chocolate bar with CURRY. It’s not easy to combine the strong flavor of this spice with cacao. Many chocolate makers have taken on the challenge, but only a few have succeeded. Unbalanced and unpleasant flavor is usually the result. Chocolate lovers don’t seem to trust this inclusion anymore.
Consumers are also yet to get acquired to the taste of PEPPER in chocolate, and they probably never will. Black, Pink, Green, White. The types don’t seem to make much difference. If more bearable in truffles and pralines, pepper is known to make consumers cringe and not come back for more.
Other chocolate combinations are open for debate.
The following 5 combinations are known for dividing the audience of chocolate lovers in those who love them and those who hate them.
When it’s not part of the intrinsic flavor of the cacao like in a Dos Rios bar by Amano Chocolate, lavender can be added in many ways.
In chocolate, it is usually included in the form of an oil or the whole flowers. Lavender oil can run the risk to give a chemical flavor to the bar. It is usually the case when we come across a chocolate bar that smells like a body wash. Some makers prefer the fresh/dry flowers to the oily version for this same reason. These definitely give more natural tasting notes to the bar, but need to be added in the right quantity as well.
Consumers are divided between those who love this floral note and those who cannot stand it in their mouth.
2. Olive Oil.
If in the right quantity and of high-quality, an inclusion of olive oil adds more to the mouth feel than it does to the overall flavor.
Thanks to its viscosity, it makes high-percentage bars result very smooth while avoiding the overwhelmingly creamy texture typical of added cocoa butter. Olive oil inclusions are more popular in chocolates than in chocolate bars. Their best companion is usually sea salt.
Many consumers are still skeptical about olive oil in chocolate, but those who tried it seem to have given the thumbs up.
It is considered one of the World’s healthiest foods. For this reason, it is often included in chocolate to team up with the properties of cacao.
No matter if fresh or powdered, ginger still retains its pungent, zesty and spicy notes.
Chocolate makers need to be careful with the quantity. If used in excess, ginger becomes the dominant flavor. Consumers can be easily turned off by it and might not be willing to give it another chance, no matter the promise of its health benefits.
4. Cacao Nibs.
Cacao nibs are pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, cracked and shelled.
Added to a chocolate bar, they bring a special crunchiness to it. In percentages higher than 70% (already relatively low in cocoa butter), the risk is that cacao nibs can add dryness to an already gritty texture. A wise selection of the cacao nibs in terms of quality and quantity is the key to a successful mouth feel.
Consumers feel like they are tasting the “quintessence of chocolate” thanks to an addition that still belongs to the Thobroma Cacao tree. Some do not enjoy this “hard” inclusion instead.
Banished from many chocolate laboratories, vanilla has unfortunately got a bad reputation. It has such a pleasant flavor that is able to cover up even the worst cacao.
When it is proudly included with good intentions (in bars more than in chocolates), it satisfies those consumers with the sweetest tooth. On the other side, an over use of vanilla can totally destroy the delicate flavor of fine cacao.
Chocolate consumers don’t mind the inclusion of vanilla as much as chocolate makers do. At the same time, it is not among their favorite additions either.
What is YOUR take on these 5 chocolate combinations?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.