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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Theo Spicy Chile

     
Theo Spicy Chile 
Posted: 11 October 2011    6.5 
Theo Spicy Chili This is a brand you want to love. And since I love chili, I thought what better bar to be my inaugural tasting of a new company's chocolate? This was decent chocolate and the cinnamon and orange zest flavors came through. But I dug in expecting spicy chili, based on the bar's name. The chili was a taste in the background. I could barely taste one chili, let alone three varieties. Spicy? I've had garlic bread spicier than this bar.    
Avg price/gram: USD 0.048   Cocoa %: 70  Size: 84g   
       


My buddy Burma Mike from Washington State visited me in Thailand recently, bringing with him dozens of American chocolate bars, most from the Pacific Northwest.  American chocolates up to this point had been significantly underrepresented.       

The first bar I tried in that bunch was a multinational, the Ghirardelli Toffee Interlude.  I made it a point to select a little guy for my second taste.  This turned out to be the Theo Spicy Chile.      

Theo is based in Washington state, in the Seattle area.   According to Theo, the company founder, Joseph Whinney, pioneered the importation of organic cocoa beans into the United States back in 1994. I have neither the energy or the curiosity to double check that fact. Joe's dream was to set up the first organic chocolate factory stateside, as all organic chocolate up to this point, again according to Theo's PR, was imported from Europe. As of this writing, Theo claims to be the first and the only organic chocolate operation in the USA.

Theo makes it a point of using only local ingredients in its chocolates.  And its attitude towards sustainability and fair wages for the local cacao growers can only make a choco-lover feel positively inclined towards the company.  The chocolates retail for a price that, given its organic and fairtrade status, are a real deal.  Ghirardelli, whom you should suspect is regularly cutting corners, is less than 10% cheaper per gram. 

This is a brand you want to love.   And since I love chili, I thought what better bar to be my inaugural tasting of a new company's chocolate? Theo describes this one as "dark chocolate . . . beautifully balanced with the warmth of guajillo chile and cinnamon, the tanginess of pasilla chile and a subtle hint of citrus."  So we're talking two types of chilis here, right?  Actually, we're talking about three.  The ingredients show pasilla chili (powder), guajillo chili pepper, and cayenne chili (powder).  I bit in eagerly.  With three chili flavors crammed into this bar, where were the chili flavors? 

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed the bar.  This was decent chocolate and the cinnamon and orange zest flavors came through.  But I dug in expecting spicy chili, based on the bar's name. The chili was a taste in the background.  I could barely taste one chili, let alone three types.  Spicy?  I've had garlic bread spicier than this bar. 

Theo's got its heart in the right place.  I just wish the chilies had been the right place, too.  And I'd advise Theo to stick with one dictionary.  With the word "chile" on the title but "chili" in the ingredients, I'd forgive someone for thinking the cacao in this bar came from the country of Chile.  . 

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Lindt Excellence A Touch Of Sea Salt from Switzerland -- 47% cocoa solids
 Godiva Milk Chocolate with Macadamia from Belgium -- 31% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index


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The Harry Dandruff Universe

  chocolate from Washington means Theo. It's darl. You like dark chocolate? This is American chocolate that is organic and fairtrade and inserts chile. We love chili like guajillo and pasilla. Damned spicy, senor.