Chili, pretzel & salt Magnum

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I love chocolate, and I love ice-cream, so for me there’s nothing better than a Magnum. I’ve always loved their smooth velvety ice-cream with its crispy chocolate coating. During my trip to Florence, Italy I stumbled upon a Magnum restaurant where you could assemble your own creation. I, of course, had to try.

I chose the dark chocolate coating and jumped on the savory sweet wagon with a sprinkle of pretzel, salt and chili flakes. The pretzel and the salt worked wonderfully with the dark chocolate. The chili flakes on the other hand were too overpowering. My mouth felt like it was on fire.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 5

White chocolate with bacon

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I’ve written before about the uprising of savory sweets such as salty caramel. One of the most popular of those is candied bacon. There’s something about the combination of sugar and salt that simply works. The first time I tried a bacon dessert was at a small tapas bar in Bali, Indonesia. After a great meal of Asian fusion tapas I ordered a white chocolate pudding with bacon that tickled my interest.

The pudding turned out to be a smooth and creamy ganache that tasted beautifully sweet. It was topped with small cubes of bacon that I assumed would be crispy and crunchy. Unfortunately the bacon was neither crispy nor crunchy but chewy. As is so often the case, it wasn’t the taste that I didn’t like, but the texture. I’m sure if the bacon had been crisped up I would have enjoyed the dish a lot more.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 5

Sea Salt Chocolate

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Savory sweet has been one of the most prominent changes in desserts across the globe for the past few years. Salt and chocolate is not something you would easily find ten years ago, but now it’s there for the taking.

I picked up a bar of sea salt chocolate by Lindt chocolatiers at a local supermarket. I was a little weary that it might be too salty, but for the most part I was expecting no flavor of salt whatsoever, as I’ve not been able to find traces of salt in previous experiments such as salty caramel cheesecake.

The salt was definitely there, though. It blended in with the bitter chocolate perfectly with an even distribution. There was no bite that was overly salty, just as there was no bite without. It took a little getting used to, but in the end I polished off the whole bar.

Imagine stirring a bit of salt through your hot cocoa instead of spoonful of sugar, and you can get what the taste is like. Not sweet, but bitter and a little savory.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test 8

Cookies & Cream KitKat Chunky

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KitKat with cookies & cream doesn’t sound too bad, unusual or weird at all, so why pit it on this blog. Well I guess it’s just one of those things I never came across growing up in Holland, and therefore it was new to me.

I like KitKats and I like Oreos, so it sounds like a combination that would work. In practice though, I felt the flavor was a little flat. There was no crunchiness of the Oreo, and no creaminess of the stuffing. The only real difference with a normal KitKat was that this one was overly sweet. I could feel my teeth starting to loosen and fall out of their sockets.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 4

Blueberry ice-cream Aero

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Aero is an aerated bubbly chocolate candy bar. Much like its sister KitKat, in Japan they have started making some different favor combination. This one I tried was called “blueberry ice-cream”.

Sure enough it didn’t deliver on its promise. Yes, it was a nice enough piece of candy, and there was a hint of blueberry, but the blueberry didn’t shine through. However there was nothing even remotely reminiscent of ice-cream. Also with all those air bubbles I thought it would be crunchier.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 5

Green tea chocolate

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For those of you who follow my blog, you’ll be aware of my struggle with green tea desserts. The matcha powder used can taste very earthy and grassy when used too heavily. Blown over from Japan, matcha desserts are abundant here in China.

Recently I picked up a bar of green tea chocolate by Dove. The tea was mixed with white chocolate, which I think works better for the matcha than a milk or dark chocolate would. The grassy taste was there, albeit below the surface.

I didn’t mind it this time. Maybe I’m getting used to it. At any rate, it’s fun to see a green colored chocolate bar. It kind of messes with your senses a bit. There were some pieces of cookie mixed in with the chocolate, giving a nice crunchy texture every other bite or so.
Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 7

Seaweed chocolate

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I’ve tried different kinds of chocolate before, such as white chocolate with lemon, but even I was taken aback when I found a bar of seaweed chocolate. I’d never heard of such a thing before. It turned out to be white chocolate mixed with seaweed and crispy rice for texture.

There’s really only one word to describe it: weird. It really was. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great, but it played with your mind. You know when you try something that you don’t like, but you try again just to be sure you don’t like it.

It definitely tasted of seaweed, more specifically nori, which is used to wrap sushi. It also definitely had that sweet creamy element of white chocolate. Writing about it, I’m still confused. Do I like this, or not? I guess I’ll have to try again.

Fear Factor – 5 / Taste Test – 7

Strawberry KitKat

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Another unusual KitKat flavor came in the form of strawberry KitKat. I like KitKat. I like strawberry. Sounds like a good combination.

Although this candy bar actually did taste like strawberry, it was quite sour. It reminded me of an artificially flavored strawberry toothpaste I used to use as a kid. This was not a pleasant experience. I don’t think I will be trying this again.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 3

Durian chocolate

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Here’s the second round for that notorious king of fruit, the durian. In Indonesia I was beaten, and now I was back for revenge. This time the smelly fruit manifested itself in the form of chocolate. I really thought that this time I would come up trumps, as I am a bit of a chocaholic.

That sweet yet putrid smell of decaying flowers that entered my nose on opening the packaging brought me back to Bali immediately. Now I was hesitant. Reluctant even. That taste of raw onions and rotting meat also came back to me.

The second time around I was still horrified by the taste of this foul smelling fruit. The chocolate did mellow it out just enough for me to swallow my first piece of chocolate, but not enough to go back for seconds.

Fear Factor – 8 / Taste Test – 1

Green tea whoopee pies

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For those of you unfamiliar with whoopee pies, they’re two slices of cake with a gooey marshmallow middle dipped in chocolate. Here in China they sell a matcha green tea version of the snack, where the center is made of green tea.

My followers will know that matcha is not one of my favorite foods. The green tea in this cake was not very strong, so the flavor for me was just right and not too overpowering. I still prefer the original whoopee pies though, as the marshmallowy middle was rather dry and not nearly as gooey as usual.

Fear Factor – 2 / Taste Test – 6