Ever since I was at the North Market Fiery Foods Show in February and tried a couple of products from The Madison Chocolatiers West, (Ricky was lurking amongst the chileheads there and giving out some samples) I have regretted not purchasing any while he had some. By the time the weekend was over, Ricky and Renee had no more samples or sales items. Actually, they may not have had any past Saturday. Anyway, I had sung their praises to Joe and life got busy, as it usually does. Then there company name and personal names kept popping up on Facebook and I thought it was time to place an order. So, I caught Renee online and placed an order. Now, truth be known, I DID try to get the highly coveted competition chocolate they chose, but alas, Renee shot me down. She would not even tell me what was in them, despite the fact I swore to secrecy. I get it. Though I would not have told anyone, I definitely wanted them to keep it close to the vest. However, I was able to get my hands on the runner-up that they did not choose, which is called the PC Bomb. I will review that here in addition to three other amazing products.
Here is the plate of products I chose to review. From top clockwise, there is the Scorpion Stinger Caramel – Super Stingers; Sweet Burn Butter Toffee; PC Bomb; and the infamous Sensation Truffle. I tried the Scorpion Stinger Caramel and Sweet Burn Butter Toffee at the North Market and will start the reviews with those products first.
The Scorpion Stinger Caramel – Super Stinger looks so innocent in that red, shiny wrapper.
INGREDIENTS: Butter, dark, milk and white chocolate, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, Scorpion and Moruga pepper, vanilla, salt.
You open it up and see yummy chocolate, then open it up to the gooey caramel inside. This is not a liquidy kind of caramel, but a chewier one. After biting into it, you automatically taste and feel the Scorpion and Moruga pepper, but it is all within one of the best tasting caramels I have had. It is obvious that this company is not just going for hot or super-hot. They are committed to quality and maintain it across the board. The burn goes away not too quickly, but not too slowly either. A few minutes later, you still have the essence of it in your mouth unless you follow it up with a drink. This caramel comes in a milder spicy level for the less heat tolerant.
Their Sweet Burn Butter Toffee is probably my favorite of their products simply because I could eat it all day if allowed.
INGREDIENTS: Butter, sugar, dark chocolate, corn syrup, bacon, chili peppers, ghost chili pepper, lecithin, salt.
Okay, did you read the ingredient list and see BACON? Yes, bacon does make virtually EVERYTHING taste better. You really do taste it in the toffee, too. While there is ghost chili in the product, it does not overwhelm the entire chocolate and make the other aspects lag. You really get an excellent balance of every ingredient. WARNING: If you start eating this, you will want to buy more. In fairness, I would have to say you should just order at least two packages at a time.
Despite the fact that the PC Bomb is the next chocolate on the clock, I will review the Sensation Truffle first.
Ah, the Sensation Truffle. What is that little, yellow thing on the top of it, you ask? It is a Szechuan flower. It is rare, unique and makes the experience of eating this truffle unlike any other. I do mean ANY!
INGREDIENTS: 70% single origin dark chocolate, cream, butter, herbs, and lime.
Instructions come with the Sensation Truffle. You are to eat the Szechuan flower first for 10 – 15 seconds before moving on to the truffle. That alone is very cool. The flower first tastes sweet, then a bit minty before moving on to a tingle, which I can only explain as almost anesthetizing. When you bite into the truffle after that, you still have the tingling and the flavor of the truffle slowly, and boldly increases. It wraps up with a beautiful chocolate finish. You should wait until the sensation ends to eat or drink anything else because it affects your palate so profoundly. Contrary to some theories, I did not have an erotic reaction to this product. However, I will say that it does make you feel a bit high, in a good way. I can see where the Szechuan flowers may be considered as a mild aphrodisiac. The night is not over yet, though.
Last, but certainly not least, the PC-Bomb.
INGREDIENTS: 70% single origin chocolate, cream, maraschino cherry, herbs, butter, dried peppers.
Where to start with this one? First, the color on the outside is phenomenal. It is metallic dark lavender color, which I hope I adequately caught in the photos. When you open it up, the color bursts from there with the bright red maraschino cherry. There is a Szechuan flower INSIDE of the cherry. To say this chocolate is complex is an understatement. When Joe and I tried it, we were like, “Well, this is tasty, but it is not terribly special.” LOL Every second after that was an adventure. It is not often that you try a product that is so insidious and then deal with a monumental build of heat. It does NOT taste spicy upon first bite. However, about a minute in, you will be sucking wind and thinking that this was the most brilliant invention in the world. I do not know if it is the Szechuan flower (which does not have the pungent effect inside of the chocolate as it does dry on the outside), the special blend of peppers (Trinidad, Moruga, and Ghost) or both. What I am sure of is that you will not forget this chocolate. I have no idea why this one came in second of two they were considering for competition. Sure makes me wonder about the winner, though. Joe said, and I quote, “I feel like a Scorpion pepper just crapped on my tongue.” For those of you reading this, that is a HUGE compliment.
In closing, I do not think there is any chilehead out there that should pass up the opportunity to try The
Madison Chocolatiers West. You will not regret it! Thanks to Ricky and Renee for making sure I got the products in excellent condition during this hideously hot summer.