Monday, February 9, 2015

Wild Ophelia Chocolate

I was wandering the aisles of the grocery store the other day and these chocolate bars stopped me dead in my tracks. I am an absolute sucker for interesting chocolate pairings. I picked these three up on the spot! I was even more excited to try these after noticing that Wild Ophelia is related to Vosges, one of my favorite chocolatiers.

Wild Ophelia pairs all natural ingredients from farms and artisans across the USA with chocolate. Each bar features a short bio of the artisan or farmer they partnered with, along with details about what makes their product special. I love that they've woven in that extra layer of connection with their ingredients.

The Peanut Butter & Banana milk chocolate bar features the Williams Banana from Uncle Mikey's Hawaiian Foods.

Flavor Profile: A Sweet, mild flavored banana with a honeyed smell, blended with roasted peanut butter and rich milk chocolate.

Peanut butter and chocolate are the key scents after opening the wrapper. I was (pleasantly) surprised by the lack of large pieces of the dried banana, instead they are a subtle crunch that adds a nice texture to the bar. While the peanut butter was a key scent, there isn't a noticeable peanut flavor to the bar, though the salt adds a nice depth to the chocolate flavor. Overall this is a well balanced chocolate bar that would appeal to just about anyone with a sweet tooth.

The Smokehouse BBQ Potato Chips dark chocolate bar features chips from The Billy Goat Chip Company.

Flavor Profile: A sweet, savory and spicy warm-the-back-of-your-throat chip is entrenched in dark chocolate.

You can smell the spice as soon as you open the wrapper, though thankfully it wasn't as spicy as the scent implied. The flavor on these is... unusual. The bitterness of the dark chocolate does interesting things with the smoky BBQ spice and the crunch of the chips is a little more aggressive than the previous bar. I would like to see a little more salt to balance out the bitterness and the smoke. While this wasn't love at first bite, the bar did grow on me after a little while. Definitely something for the more adventurous chocolate lover.

The Beef Jerky milk chocolate bar features jerky from the state of Idaho.

Flavor Profile: Natural smoked fruit woods and peppered spices perfectly match our smooth milk chocolate.

Of the three, this bar was the one I was the most skeptical to try. The peppery smoke is the first scent note after opening the wrapper, giving the bar an almost savory feel. I was again pleasantly surprised about the lack of large pieces of jerky in the chocolate. The pepper pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the milk chocolate. The use of smoked fruit wood lightens the smoke on the bar, it becomes a pleasant aftertaste rather than an overwhelming note of smoke. The texture of the jerky itself is barely noticeable, making for a smooth bar that's easy to eat. If you're a fan of the bacon and chocolate pairing, try this for a new twist.

Overall, I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed the two milk chocolate bars. I would pick up the Peanut Butter and Banana as well as the Beef Jerky flavors again. Especially to experiment with baking, I suspect the Peanut Butter and Banana would be excellent in pancakes.

Have you tried any of the Wild Ophelia chocolate bars? What are your favorite flavors to pair with chocolate?