Spicy Tabasco Chocolate
Yes, Tabasco chocolate is exactly what it sounds like: chocolate flavored with Tabasco sauce. A new delight? Well, not exactly...
There's a new gourmet chocolate in town, pardner: Tabasco chocolate. Or so the claim goes, anyway. What makes it "gourmet," as such, isn't entirely clear. But when you get right down to it, it's really chocolate getting back to its roots.
How so? Well, as all chocolate extremos know, in its raw state, chocolate is shockingly bitter. The original Native American consumers didn't care for that bitterness any better than we do today... but they had no sugar to combine with it.
Even most of those of us who love dark chocolate contemplate the idea of totally unsweetened chocolate with a thrill of horror. So you might expect that the Central and South American Indians who went through all the trouble of processing cacao beans at least added honey as a sweetener.
Nope. They preferred chili peppers.
You may be thinking "Peppers?!" But you see, peppers were so beloved by the natives of the region that they were among the first plants domesticated (along with beans, corn, and squash) when agriculture became the "in" thing in that part of the Americas thousands of years ago.
Someone probably combined beans, corn, and/or squash with chocolate somewhere along the way, but it wasn't the hit that peppers were. At one point, Aztec Emperor Montezuma reportedly drank as much as fifty pitchers of pepper-chocolate a day, because he thought it made him sexually potent.
Pepper-chocolate doesn't appeal much to yours truly, sadly, because Your Humble Writer is a wimp when it comes to hot sauces. But Tabasco's new Spicy Chocolate isn't so bad. I savor the Louisiana-bred mixture of red pepper, vinegar, and salt (the only three ingredients of Tabasco) on occasion myself.
I would definitely recommend this dark chocolate confection for the choco-extremo. It has a bit of a kick, and while it isn't my favorite treat ever, it's far superior, frankly, to some of the other chocolatey combinations that have passed these lips in the past.
As For Gourmet...
I suppose you could consider Tabasco's spicy chocolate a gourmet item, since peppery chocolate is a bit beyond the pale nowadays, and it costs quite a bit--about $5 for a 1.25-ounce tin. That's cheaper than caviar, anyway, which hopefully no one has covered with chocolate yet.
This chocolate is split into eight ridged pie-shape wedges that fit snugly into their metal tin with a bit of a gap in the middle. The chocolate itself is darkly sublime, and unlike some spicy treats, the hotness does not overwhelm the actual flavor.
The verdict? Give it a try. If dark chocolate's not your thing, give it some time; they'll no doubt release Tabasco chocolate in a milk chocolate version soon.