A while ago, I got to thinking about what my fantasy candy bar would be. If I had any smarts at all, I would've taken this idea one step further and started a create-your-own candy bar business. But I seem to be missing the synapses that take my ideas to finished products. A mental deficiency, probably caused from drinking coffee at age 5.
Enter Chocri, a German company that allows you to pick your chocolate (milk, dark or white) and select your toppings-- everything from nuts and dried fruits to spices and cereals. In January, they'll be offering this service in the U.S.; in the meantime, they've been inviting some bloggers and journalists to try out their goods. What fun! And such decisions to make.
Some things were easy for me to rule out, like rosemary, hemp seeds, flower mix and basil. I have no interest in mixing these things with my chocolate. Others, however, presented quite a challenge. Should I do a really nutty bar with almonds, cashews, pine nuts and pecans? Or maybe a "fun" candy bar with gummy bears, colorful chocolate lentils and mini sugar bananas? It was tough coming up with some final products, but here's what I went with.
Pictured from left: "I Wish I Was Somewhere Tropical" (dark chocolate with coconut flakes, banana chips, pineapple and sea salt); "Candy Yum Yum Fruit Crunch" (milk chocolate with raisins, cranberries, cinnamon cornflakes and roasted almonds); and "The Whole Shebang" (milk chocolate with pretzels, cornflakes, candy lentils, rice crispies and ground coffee beans). I probably should've ordered a white chocolate bar just to cover all the bases, but since I really don't prefer white, I passed on it. Now I wish I had ordered one, because I loved all of these.
They were actually sitting on the "candy shelf" for a while, because we had all the Halloween candy to slog through. So the other night, when I finally decided it was time to break into one of the bars, I went into a panic. The Whole Shebang was open and it appeared as if the label had been nibbled on. I ran downstairs to tell Mr. Goodbar the unfortunate news that we once again had mice in the house.
"Uh, no," he said. "That was me. I opened that."
Oh. Well, he sure did a job on the label.
The milk chocolate was smooth and creamy and the combination of the pretzel and cornflake crunch with the chocolately lentils was perfect. The ground coffee beans gave it a really delicious, complex flavor, although I think the coffee would've been better with simpler ingredients, maybe plain cashews or a dried fruit.
The Candy Yum Yum Fruit Crunch was reminiscent of a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar, back when they were actually good. The sweet almonds and tart fruit played off each other and the cinnamon cornflakes gave it a fun twist.
I thought I was being clever by putting banana chips in the Tropical bar. Mr. Goodbar hates bananas and I thought they would keep him away. Wrong. This morning I saw that he broke into the bar last night. The dark chocolate is wonderfully balanced-- not too sweet, not too bitter or tannic. The sea salt goes wonderfully with the chocolate and the fruits give it a nice texture combination.
I'm being 100 percent honest in my review when I say I. Love. Chocri. I love the concept and I love the product. My one bone of contention is the label. Since you get to name your own bar, it would be fun to have a fancier, more professional looking label, but the package itself is great, since you get to see what the bar looks like.
Let's get down to business now. The company won't start selling in the U.S. until January, which is too bad, because they'd make great Christmas gifts. The bars start at $8 and the toppings range from 10 cents to over $2. It looks like an average bar would cost somewhere around $10. Pricey, yes. These aren't the type of bars you'd order for your everyday consumption. However, I think a gift certificate for one or two bars would be a fun present or grab bag gift.
The Chocri website in the U.S. isn't up yet, but you can visit their blog for a preview: www.createmychocolate.com/blog. Check it out. What do you think you'd create?
You can check out some of the other bars that bloggers have created at Candy Addict and The Chocolate Review.