Sunday, January 20, 2013

Margaret River Chocolate Factory Dark Grape Chocolate and Dark Chilli Chocolate

You may remember that on our trip to Dunsborough late last year, we visited the Margaret River Chocolate Company.

This visit, it must be said, was largely driven by me. I don't think anyone else minded visiting, but I don't think they felt a driving need to visit either.


I felt a driving need. This is in spite of the Margaret River Chocolate Company opening a Perth-based store last year. I could probably visit that store weekly if I so desired, but, inexplicably, I have yet to set foot inside it. Instead, I retain huge amounts of affection for the Margaret River shop that is four hours away. 

On this occasion, my purchases were a milk chocolate bar with macadamia nuts, a white chocolate bar with cookies and cream, red grape dark chocolate, and chilli dark chocolate. Lest you think I have suddenly turned to milk or white chocolate consumption, those two bars were for my siblings. 

I can't comment on these...

My own purchases made me very happy indeed. I hadn't seen the red grape variety before, and the concept of a grape-flavoured chocolate has captured my imagination and is refusing to let go, even now. I doubted that this bar would actually taste of grape, but the inclusion of polyphenol on the ingredient list (an antioxidant found in wine) was enough to  convince me to buy it.


Other than polyphenol, this block has a simple ingredient list. My one complaint about the company is that they don't list cocoa percentages on their packaging. I didn't think to ask about cocoa percents when I was there, and I thus can't comment on them now. Whatever they are, though, there are no milk products in either of the dark blocks I bought, and that is a big win in my book.


Taste wise, the grape chocolate was a sweet dark chocolate. If I was guessing, I would place the cocoa percentage in the 50 - 60% range. I could have eaten the block in a single sitting, and there is none of the bitterness that accompanies some higher cocoa blocks. 


As anticipated, there was no detectable grape taste. Nonetheless, this block tasted different to any chocolate I've had before. I want to refer to sweet redcurrants, but that isn't entirely accurate. Perhaps redcurrants mixed with vanilla mixed with raspberries (just a bit) mixed with a subtle, tiny hint of spice, mixed with maple syrup. The combination made my mouth sing.


Mr Bite was in agreement, but I liked this so much I only let him have two squares.


I have a private goal of trying every dark chilli chocolate that I encounter (and a good many of the milk ones too), so I was delighted to pick this chilli block up on our visit. 


I am always a little excited when trying a new chilli chocolate. There is the possibility of disappointment, of course. Some blocks carry so little chilli that you are left wondering if you got a dud, one without any chilli powder at all. At the opposite end of the scale, some blocks are liable to make you splutter and sneeze and madly grab for some water after your first bite.



This block sits happily between the two. The chilli was most definitely present, and there is a warmth that kicks in at first taste. This builds over time to something closer to hot than warm, but it never reaches a point where you want the heat to stop. Instead, if you are like me, you want to keep eating in order to keep the experience going.


As with the grape chocolate, this is a sweet dark chocolate and I don't think the cocoa percentage would be above 60%. Whilst I like darker cocoa blocks most of the time, in this case the sweetness mixed with the chilli and vanilla to give a wonderful result.


Neither of these blocks are exotic, and they do not venture too far away from traditional flavour combinations. At the same time, the quality of the chocolate and the balance of the ingredients makes them very different to more 'typical' or readily available brands.

I may have to start visiting that Perth store after all.

What was the last chocolate you tried that made your mouth sing, metaphorically or otherwise?

26 comments:

  1. Luckily, Tyler doesn't like chocolate so all chocolate is mine!! Last time I visited a chocolate shop, I was so excited that I accidently reversed into a tree. Oops. I have been wanting to visit Perth ever since I was made aware of their amazing food culture! My favourite last chocolate was a whole roasted hazelnut chocolate. So. Good.!

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    1. This comment made me laugh so much. Reversing into a tree definitely counts as over-excitement ;)

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  2. I would've felt the need to drive as always if it meant I'll end up at a delightful chocolate store. My mom's favorite is white chocolate cookies and cream..you know the Hershey's kind? My taste for chocolate is a lot more sophisticated then that ;). I always check for cocoa % as well, and it irritates me so much that it's not mandatory to list it. However, I will say that I draw the line at 80%. 90% ones were way too bitter and tasted like "tree bark" as my brother put it. I think he was traumatized as he is a milk chocolate lover.

    I'm taking a course on Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, and for one of our big research paper, we have to identify the different categories of bioactive compounds, describe the health benefits, safety/toxicity. I was assigned grapes and wine. There's a lot of research out there and, as you may know, tons of health claims associated with grapes. However, one of the main researcher when it comes to wine, DK DAS, has just been found to be a fraud which complicates things quite a bit. I can't use any of this paper (there are hundreds!) nor ones that reference his work. Sigh.

    I say all this bc I also have to create a innovative product using grapes. Reading your review gave me an incredible idea! Dark chocolate with a distinctive grape flavor! I don't think I've ever tried one either. I shall look into it hehe.

    I actually haven't had a dark chocolate in a long time! Gotta stock up today!!

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    1. Thanks for this lovely comment Min :-) I hate finding out about fraud in research, it is such a terrible thing and contaminates a whole field often times! It's good that you are learning to look around that researcher's work and I'll be curious to hear what you find when you look at the fraud-free findings!

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  3. I've seen a few wine flavoured chocolate that sound interesting but have never tasted them - and I shy away from chilli flavoured chocolates but I gave my mum a pink peppercorn chocolate for christmas that she recently told me was quite interesting and I wish I had bought some for myself too.

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    1. I think I have seen that pink peppercorn chocolate (or at least, I have seen a pink peppercorn chocolate) and it does look very interesting. I think you should have asked her to save you a piece!

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  4. I would have felt a driving need to visit as well... I love dark chilli chocolate!

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  5. I'd like to visit this place too. What great looking chocolate bars. I think I'd like to try the chilli blocks too xx

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    1. They also do an amazing looking chilli hot chocolate at their cafe...

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  6. Looks like Margaret River is stepping things up a notch! Good for them.

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    1. Indeed! Especially the franchising to Perth part :-)

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  7. The last chocolate I had was actually pretty amazing. It was Theo's in Seattle. I had caramel sea salt and caramel ghost chile. The ghost chile chocolate was awesome. The flavor profile was amazing!

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  8. Oh wow, these look so good. First of all, yay no milk! Second, red grape chocolate? Intriguing. Third, I prefer slightly sweeter dark chocolates, so these sound right up my alley.

    We're contemplating a holiday elsewhere in the end of this year, perhaps with Andy's parents. I don't think I would need to twist any arms for it to include a chocolate factory...

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    1. If you like sweeter dark chocolates, I think you would love these :-) Hopefully you can find a chocolate factory on your travels when they come around!

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  9. All of this chocolate is making me hungry ... I am a sucker for good ol' Caramello ...

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    1. Ah, I had forgotten all about them! I loved them in high school - the big, giant ones, not the little tiny ones :-)

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  10. Definitely the kind of thing I would drive 4 hours for!

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  11. Oh yeah, I'd feel a driving need to detour for chocolate too. :) Despite not being grape-y, that bar sounds like heaven. I think the next time I pick me up a nice piece of chocolate, I'm going to go all zen with it and see if I can come up with some awesome descriptive words like this, ha ha. I ate a piece of chocolate with black sesame, ginger and wasabi yesterday, and the main word I came up with was 'intriguing', ha ha. :)

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    1. I run out of descriptive words quickly, don't you worry! Black sesame, ginger and wasabi chocolate definitely sounds intriguing, and incredible!

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  12. visions of myself diving into a chocolate river were evoked....hehe. :)

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  13. It's hard when you find a chocolate that you really like, and someone sidles up to share some, that awkward moment! Mr Bite did well to get two squares :-)

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