How’s it going, fellow fiery food fans? It’s been three weeks since world chocolate day, making this post quite disappointingly late, but here it is: The promised confection!
Not one, not two but three whole bars from Prices Spices, who’s delay in shipping them out to me apparently stems from a chronic inability to keep up with demand. So many people want Michael Price’s chocolate that he just can’t keep it in stock and he seems to have to make each batch to order.
So it would seem that these are some seriously well-liked bars. But is their popularity truly warranted?
Let’s find out!
First up, the company’s milk chocolate, since it uses the mildest chilli of the bunch:
Segmented into triangles, for a cool visual effect, but otherwise looking completely plain, this is their Gin Fizz. And it gets a lot cooler when we flip it over:
Aren’t those peacock feathers of cocoa just beautiful?
People definitely aren’t buying this bar for its lacklustre, black and white labelling but that underside? That’s a looker!
Breaking into it, though, the bar has a soft snap. Nothing with any real volume. Yet it still melts in the mouth, imparting a rich, sweet and creamy taste with a surprising amount of cocoa flavour for a bar that is, according to its ingredients, only eleven percent.
In fact, I think that it melts a little faster than most, furthering the creamy taste and texture even more, whilst also making sure that the popping candy contained within gets to work right away.
Often times, popping candy in chocolate can feel a little gimmicky but the contrast between that sudden pop and the smooth, quick-melting bar really works. And it feels almost necessary, with a name like “Gin Fizz”.
It also helps to highlight the sudden spark of quickly fading
from its lemondrop peppers. Chillies which strike me as unusually throaty in this particular product.
They don’t add a tonne of flavour, sadly, but what little citrus they do bring to the bar definitely helps compliment the quinine from the tonic water and the fragrant juniper of the gin. Not to mention that tiny hint of something szechuan peppercorn-like that I’m getting in the tail.
They’re an odd choice for milk chocolate but, alongside Michael’s other flavours, they were definitely the right one. His first bar is a resounding success!
Now, what about his white?
This one’s just as boringly labelled as the last and even fails to state its ingredients on the front but they’re a lot more visible, this time, through the paler chocolate. You can see the pink specks in these bar even before you turn it over but they get much more prominent when you do.
Perhaps even excessively so:
This is his Raspberry Ghost and that is a metaphorical tonne of freeze-dried fruit.
When I break off a piece of the bar for my first bite, it snaps just as weakly as the milk but it takes a little longer to melt, keeping its creamy, cocoa-butter flavour in my mouth for a while longer. Along with, of course, its
A burn that is far more typical of its pepper than the last.
There’s no sudden moment of impact from this one. It’s not there one moment, gone the next. It just grows in, alongside the pink fruit flavour that permeates every inch of this chocolate, and keeps growing, in the back of the mouth, until it takes over. Its fire lingering behind with the last traces of sweetness.
It’s strong – Perhaps more so than it needs to be – but it’s satisfying and it works with the rest of the bar. Both with the smooth, fatty, white chocolate and with the soft, pinkish-red, berry taste from the raspberries. A burn to match the mouth feel and flavour.
In my mind, it’s what <Daddy Cool’s white chocolate> should have been. The actual chocolate used for his product seemed to be of better quality but the habanero in there just didn’t make sense.
So, once again, this one’s a goodie. But what about the dark? Can Michael win me over with even my least favourite shade?
Let’s try his Rum & Reaper:
Again, not especially a looker from its packaging but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. And nor should be the peacock patterning underneath, since we already saw that on the milk.
In this particular instance, the patterning looks to have lost a little of its lustre from the surface melting and firming up again in transit but what really stands out isn’t that, at all. It’s the aroma.
The powerful smell of rum, tinged with darkness and fruit, that hits me the instant I open it. Something that I didn’t get from the other bars, at all.
It’s like rum and raisin, without the raisin, yet it keeps all of that dried fruit quality. Perhaps from the slightly fruity pepper that it contains or perhaps it’s using madagascan cocoa beans. It’s not clear from its aroma and hardly any more so from its taste.
In fact, apart from the chocolate, itself, being more prominent and bringing forward a touch of bitterness, the Rum and Reaper is almost identical in the mouth to on the nose. Rum and raisin, minus the raisin but plus a good amount of cocoa pretty much sums it up. It tastes of dark chocolate with bold, boozy overtones and a gentle aftertaste of indeterminable fruit.
Yet it also carries a very determinable
which starts off in my throat before working its way up to stab at the tip of my tongue. A burn pattern that isn’t quite typical of the reaper but definitely feels like that pepper.
It’s easily the most adult flavour of the range and I like it a lot. I just wish that the bar were firm and brittle, like a good dark chocolate should be, rather than crumbly.
It’s not quite perfect and nor are either of the other two but they’re still all brilliant bars, even if the tempering of the chocolate in them could stand to be improved. They’re still all well worth recommending and I’m very excited to see what Michael does with the ruby chocolate that he’s been talking about.
Here’s what went into the milk:
Milk Chocolate (Sugar 42.0%, Cocoa Butter 24.0%, Whole MILK Powder 22.5%, Cocoa Mass 11.0% ; Emulsifier: SOYA Lecithin <1%, Natural Vanilla Flavouring <1%) (MILK, SOY) (98.4%), (Sugar, Glucose Butter, Carbon Dioxide (E290), Natural Flavourings), Aji Limon Chilli 1%
And the dark:
Dark Chocolate Couverture, Sugar, Cocoa Butter (MILK), Cocoa Mass, Emulsifier; SOYA lecithin, Natural Vanilla, Ganache (Milk Chocolate (Sugar 42.0%, Cocoa Butter 24.0%, Whole MILK Powder 22.5%, Cocoa Mass 11.0% ; Emulsifier: SOYA Lecithin <1%, Natural Vanilla Flavouring <1%) (MILK, SOY) (98.4%), (Sugar, Glucose Butter, Carbon Dioxide (E290), Natural Flavourings) Dark Rum (0.5%)) 6%, MILK Chocolate Ganache, Carolina Reaper Chilli (0.2%)
And here’s an ingredients list that I pulled off his website for the white, since the packaging that I received didn’t come with one:
White Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Emulsifier, Soy Lecithin-E322, Flavouring, Natural Vanilla) (98.4%), Freeze Dried Raspberry (1.4%), Ghost Chilli Powder (0.1%)