Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chuao Firecracker Chocopod: Chocolate for the Senses

A Chuao Firecracker Chocopod invites suspicion at first glance. A connoisseur would never consider eating premium Venezuelan dark chocolate blended with “pop rocks”. Chocolate doesn’t need gimmicks that are so sacre bleu, so yesterday's El Bulli, so ridiculously infantile. Warning: the first time you eat a Chuao Firecracker Chocopod be prepared to eat those doubting words.

Chocolate lovers are used to cacao bars that play on complementary and contrasting textures using ingredients like nuts, dried fruit and crisped rice. Adding compressed carbon dioxide crystals to chocolate creates an inverse experience of “crunch” because you don’t have to bite down to experience tactile sensations; the presence of water in your mouth act as a catalyst for passive mouthfeel (an extension of the sense of touch). Touch isn't the only sense activated in the Chuao Firecracker Chocopod experience; you can hear the carbon dioxide crystals popping when the chocolate melts inside your mouth.

To fully embrace the effects of a Chuao Firecracker Chocopod follow this cardinal rule; no biting. Begin by placing a small piece of chocolate on the tongue, allowing it to melt slowly. You’ll notice the heat of chipotle chili as it gently grazes the tongue and mingles with the distinctive flavor of dark Venezuelan chocolate. Compressed carbon dioxide crystals snap and crackle as the chocolate melts, creating the sensation of 1000 little fingers tickling the taste buds. This feeling causes most first-time “Firecracker” eaters to cover their mouths in order to stop themselves from laughing out loud. Others smile pensively as they try to get inside the tasting experience for the first time. There are a brazen few who wonder what it would be like to kiss someone with the candy inside their mouth.

Chuao Firecracker Chocopod is more than a novelty; it's a chocolate lover's excuse to indulge in playful connoisseurship. The pleasure of eating a "Firecracker" is just as thrilling as watching someone having the experience for the first time. If this qualifies as a type of confectionery voyeurism, so be it. No one is going to arrest you.

While you’re on the Chuao Chocolatier site consider trying the Chuao Salted Chocolate Crunch Bar, another Glass Petal Smoke favorite. One bite and you’ll ditch that old “crunch bar” jones for a new and improved version that uses Japanese Panko breadcrumbs in lieu of crisped rice.