The Chocolate Life

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May 19th, 2008
Accepting chocolate with crubled bacon bits was a stretch for me. Love chocolate and god knows, love bacon, but the unusual combination from a very fine American chocolate company made me suspicious. When I tried it, I gained insight. It’s not that chocolate doesn’t go with bacon conceptually because what is bacon after all but a lot of animal fat & salt & a little piggy essence. What made this bar so very, very bad was that the bacon tasted like Baco-o’s (those stale, imitation brown rocks you get at a really bad salad bar). It was not the crunchy, salty, savory cured bacon I might fry up for the hungry teenagers in my house on Sunday mornings. Chocolate with Baco-like-bacon is all the way bad. But there’s one worse. Mushroom gravy in the dark chocolate bon bon I tried last week in Silver Lake. Wow. I looked helplessly for a garbage can to use as a spitoon - nothing in sight. I had to zoom out to the street, doing the wavy-chicken-arm thing people do when they’re gonna hurl or spit some nasty chocolate in the gutter. The mushroom gravy was SWEET. That poor, misguided chocolatier had added some white chocolate as if to improve things. I am a patience person. I allow for many flavor adventures as long as they are earnest. I forgave the lack of originiality in the work (the chocolates were made with molds painted with cocoa butter and contrasting transfer sheets - OK, but nothing too impressive). I’ll forgive the $2.00 price tag for one piece of said chocolate. But I will not forgive the miscarriage of mushroom into innocent and otherwise inoffensive dark chocolate. No, no, no, I have to say no to the Bacos and gravy. Even if the goal of the artisan chocolatier who pushes the boundaries of flavors is to surprise and entertain us - I say to them: Common Sense, Por Favor!! Mushroom sauce, mushroom gravy, and mushroom caps stuffed with garlic have no place in the chocolatier’s arsenal. Make some honey caramel and call it a day, fool. Onward.

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Tags: chocolate, critiques, dark, flavors, opinions

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Comment by David Rudolph on February 26, 2009 at 7:14pm
brave of you,foolishly id do the same thing.
Comment by Susie Norris on November 25, 2008 at 10:23pm
Haven't tried it yet. I'm scared. Any good? And what's up with the latest price tag on their truffles - $5.00 each!
Comment by ChocoFiles on November 20, 2008 at 11:54am
Have any of you tried Vosges new Enchanted Mushroom bar? Organic dark chocolate + reishi mushrooms + organic walnuts. 66% cacao.
http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/product/organic_enchanted_mushroom_candy_bar/exotic_candy_bars

I wonder if Susie will get the same reaction? Sorry to find a chuckle at your distress, but I would have liked to have seen this-- "I had to zoom out to the street, doing the wavy-chicken-arm thing people do when they’re gonna hurl or spit some nasty chocolate in the gutter."
Comment by Susie Norris on May 31, 2008 at 5:15pm
Yowsah! Gonna try it for sure.
Comment by Clay Gordon on May 30, 2008 at 5:26pm
My favorite way to combine bacon and chocolate focuses on the bacon. I use really good bacon, sliced way thick, from my favorite butcher down on Arthur Ave in the Bronx. I create a marinade with brown sugar, cocoa powder, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar to taste - I shoot for the consistency of a well-emulsified vinaigrette. I marinade the bacon for at least 30 minutes and then bake on a rack above a pan lined with foil in a slow oven (about 250F) until the bacon is tender/chewy and crunchy/crispy at the same time. How long depends on how thick the bacon is and how crisp you like your bacon, 20-30 minutes or so.
Comment by Susie Norris on May 23, 2008 at 3:59pm
I hear ya. I'll give bacon another go with Xoxolatl. And I'm going to keep VOSGES on my list of favorites because they have done an amazing job at bringing inventiveness to American chocolate and they seem to be having a lot of fun. And who knew bacon was being marketed as a outdoorsman's nutritional product? That's kind of cool. Zingerman's did a good food book:
http://www.amazon.com/Zingermans-Guide-Good-Eating-Chocolate/dp/0395926165
Comment by Sarah Hart on May 23, 2008 at 3:03pm
I agree in general about the silliness of pushing the chocolate/flavor envelope so far that it just doesn't taste good. I have, however, had some successful chocolate bacon combinations-- but they were made with really good bacon. Xoxolatl de David, here in Portland, Oregon is a good example. The Vosges bar is just so so in my opinion but certainly edible. The mushroom gravy chocolate sounds horrible! Horrible! Yuck. WHy, indeed!
Comment by Susie Norris on May 23, 2008 at 9:28am
Hahaha! I guess I won't be stepping up for that special volume discount! Have you tried Mo's Bacon Chocolate Bar?

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