/ Doug's Chocolate Republic /
Review: Theo Spicy Chile
Theo Spicy Chile
Posted: 11 October 2011
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.
price/gram: USD 0.048
Cocoa %: 70
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
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
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. .
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.