Montezuma's appeared in Britain at the right time, I'll grant them that. Brits wanted higher quality chocolates, and Montezuma was waiting right there with unusual taste combinations. Their Chilli & Lime chocolate is good, and Montezuma is generous with the cocoa solids in their milk blend. Is it an
unusual combination? In Central and South American food, chilli
and lime are as common as American movie stars married to models.
price/gram: USD 0.037
Cocoa %: 37
I always wondered, in highly
competitive markets, how one brand of products winds up on
the shelves over another. I have been the purveyor of
bargain products, half the price of similar competing
products, and no one wanted to go near me because I wasn't a
brand name. I've also sold more expensive products, and no
one wanted to go near me because they were expensive.
So how the $)@*$)* did Montezuma do it?
Husband and wife Simon and Helen Pattinson, both lawyers making easy coin in the City, tossed
in their legal briefs in 1999. They traveled to South
America, tasted wonderful chocolates in Argentina, visited
cocoa plantations in Venezuela, and launched their UK
chocolate operation in 2000. Sales just seemed to grow
magically year after year, and now the two can confidently
say that thumbing it to their high paying legal jobs in the
City paid miraculous dividends.
The original idea was to open
a chocolate shop and have someone else make the chocolate.
But shortly before they opened, their key supplier went bust
and the Pattinsons made the bold move to go into chocolate
manufacturing themselves. Now they own five shops to
test their products, sell at the British supermarket chain
Waitrose, and do more than half their business online.
Montezuma's appeared in
Britain at the right time, I'll grant them that. Brits
wanted higher quality chocolates, and Montezuma was waiting
with unusual taste combinations. Some of their bars have a
distinctly British accent, sporting British flags on the front
label, with names like Treacle Tart, Apple Crumble, and
Summer Pudding. Eight of their chocolates are organic,
almost by accident. The Pattinsons were sourcing cacao
they loved from the Domnican Republic which happened to be
organic. They realized they might as well pay the
extra for the other ingredients to be organic, too, so that
they could call the bar organic.
My question is how Montezuma
got its chocolate bars placed on the shelves of a Bangkok
Dean & Deluca, Dean & Deluca is pricy even in its
native US. In Bangkok, the prices sting even
more. How was Montezuma able to get its bars placed
there over a myriad of amazing American craft chocolate
Their Chilli & Lime chocolate is good,
don't get me wrong, and Montezuma is generous with the cocoa
solids in their milk blend.
Simon Pattinson says that, "Having made this a limited edition bar for a famous chilli festival in the beautiful South Downs, we have once again been persuaded by a hard core of loyal customers to make this a permanent resident in the range. Until you taste it words will not do justice to how well this unlikely combination work."
I was surprised to read that. In Central and South
American food, chilli and lime are as common American movie stars married
to models. It's a very typical combination.
The taste was balanced.
I really could taste the lime and the chili. The chilli
wasn't overpowering by any means. Montezuma's Chilli &
Line isn't at the spice levels of a moderate Thai salad.
Would I buy it again? For the prices Montezuma bars sell for in the UK, yes.
At robber baron prices from Dean & Deluca, no. The Queen of
England can come to Bangkok and a pay the premium to eat