Sweet Alchemy

Hey folks, it’s been almost a month since the intersection of international chocolate day and national curry week, when I featured The Chilli Alchemist‘s Dark Matter Chocolate, and, in that time, I had hoped that I’d also be able to show off their sauces.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.

Major computer problems have slowed down the release of the video in question and, while I’m working on a solution as we speak, it may still be a short while before I can properly feature the company’s main range. So, for the time being, you’re going to have to make do with their dessert toppers, instead:

An indulgent-sounding pair of chilli chocolate and salted caramel spreads, wrapped in equally dark and decadent-looking labels which have only heightened the excitement that I already had for them.

I’ve been looking forward to these two for quite some time now and, if they’re even half as good as I imagine, they’re going to be utterly amazing. So let’s see how they compare to my mental image, shall we?

As I mentioned a moment ago, the labels on both of these are a simple and sophisticated, with white text and a single colour on black. All backed with subtle foil highlights, to make their description and art pop.

And, while what art they have is minimal, it’s also meaningful. At least in the case of Scorch – The chocolate spread.

Scorch’s phases of the moon are symbols of the night, of darkness and, by extension, of a high cocoa content. While the diagram’s red colouration hints more at the chilli within.

Blaze – The salted caramel – has either had far less thought put into its visuals or so much more that their meaning escapes me. I cannot see any connection between its shooting stars and the nature of the spread. Only that the same golden brown lies both inside and out.

There is a touch of the same red to this product’s name, in order to hint at the chilli again, though it’s a lot less obvious than it was on the Scorch and here it seems at odds with the otherwise monotone colour palette.

Blaze’s label design definitely doesn’t do as much to convey the contents as that of its partner but both still have an elegance to them which suggests richness and quality. And it’s about time that I put that impression to the test.

Both are thick and have a slight crystalline quality to their surface, with a few small chilli power specks visible, if you really inspect them closely. Yet, despite their thickness, these two do actually start to flow when you tilt the spoon, unlike their supermarket counterparts. Though they’re still very slow to do so.

The most immediately obvious difference between this chocolate spread and Nutella, however, is the colour.

It’s rather lighter in appearance and the same is true of its taste. It’s smooth and buttery and far more like a high-cocoa milk chocolate than the dark sort that I was expecting. And a lot of that stems from the fact that this spread is nut-free.

There’s none of Nutella’s hazelnut flavour to distract from the chocolate but also none to enhance that chocolate’s own rich, dark flavour. And the added dairy content is really quite obvious.

As is the high

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Heat

in my throat, after eating it.

It’s very different to what you’ll find in most stores but, honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I like the darkness. I like the nuts. And I like the feeling of resistance as I pull my spoon out of the jar. Over toast and american-style pancakes, I actually prefer Nutella.

Yet slap the Alchemist’s Scorch onto crepes, croissant or churros and it’s a whole ‘nother story!

The way in which this spread’s butter content allows it to partially melt over such items and become even creamier and gooier than normal makes it utterly amazing. So much so that there’s no comparison, anymore.

So really, it all depends on how you plan on using it. But I’d happily take either over chocolate cake.

For the Blaze, however, things are a lot more cut and dry. Because I’ve not tasted anything quite like it in over a decade.

This isn’t the salted caramel that I know. Or what most people know, either.

It’s not the sickly sweet stuff that mass market products try to pass off as “salted” because the word sells. Yet nor is it quite the same as the extra salty stuff that you occasionally get, at food festivals, when you find a seller with principles.

No, this is the salted butter caramel that started the craze. The original spread, which I first tried, and fell in love with, on a french holiday in my early teens.

It’s still sweet but far from excessive and that sweetness is well balanced by both a good hit of salt and just the right level of creamy, lightly-browned butter. Utterly delicious and, just like the Scorch, ideal for part-melting over crepes.

To me, this taste is highly nostalgic yet, for the rest of you, this might well be your first time trying real salted butter caramel. And that’s a mind blowing experience, let me tell you.

It is soooo good over toast, pancakes, cookies, cupcakes and ice-cream but its true home will always be inside a rolled up crepe, applied over the top while it’s still cooking.

If you can handle the same

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Heat

in the throat that the Scorch offered and you enjoy a sweet treat, from time to time, then you absolutely have to try this Blaze. It’s easily the more impressive of today’s two features, though the Scorch is still no slouch.

Here’s what the blaze contains:

Condensed Milk (MILK), Golden Syrup, Double Cream (MILK), Sugar, Butter (MILK), Sea Salt, Ghost Chilli

and here’s what makes the Scorch:

Condensed Milk (MILK), Golden Syrup, Double Cream (MILK), Sugar, Butter (MILK), Chocolate (Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Vanilla Flavouring. Cocoa Solids 85% minimum), Cocoa Powder, Sea Salt, Chilli.

Neither list stating what chilli goes into them, so I wouldn’t know, myself, if Russell hadn’t mentioned it online.

These are ghost pepper products. Ones which clearly use the chilli just for heat, because I can’t actually taste it at all. Yet the slow onset burn is rather pleasant and the flavours that they do have more than make up for not tasting that ghost.

Both are great spreads and I definitely recommend them, even if I do recommend one a little more than the other.

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