This end-of-week, I'll be tackling a double dose of seasonal, peppermint chocolates. I could do a side-by-side review of both products at once, but I'd rather give them each their own space. Tomorrow it will be the Peppermint Dark Chocolate Pieces from Little Secrets, and today it is the Peppermint Stick 70% Dark Chocolate bar from Theo.
Theo is the steady friend when it comes to quality, ethical chocolate. And they're also one of the few widely-available brands in that zone that provides seasonal offerings. I've reviewed their Nutcracker Brittle and Gingerbread Spice Milk Chocolate bars before; this year I'll finally be finishing up with this Peppermint Stick bar and the Cranberry Orange (that post should be up next week). As I've mentioned in the past, these bars are particularly nice for people who live in areas where you can't stop off at a nearby chocolate shop to get quality, seasonal truffles (or people who simply can't take the time to go to a small shop instead of a grocery store).
The style of these Christmas bars has changed over the years. This year they have a trendy look that reminds me of Target. Though it's a tad too trendy for me, it's still pretty. The chocolate bar inside has the same usual look for the eight squares. Only a very light peppermint aroma comes about when you unwrap the bar.
Now, although the overall idea is of peppermint sticks, if this chocolate were to include pieces of genuine peppermint sticks, well, that would not be great for our teeth. (Not that we don't all end up crunching on candy canes, anyway, but that's our choice, not the way the product was designed to be eaten.) So standing in for candy cane or peppermint stick pieces is a kind of brittle based on sugar and corn syrup. It's crispier than actual peppermint candy to make it acceptable to chew but not so different that it doesn't still feel somewhat like the familiar candy.
The problem is just that there either isn't enough of it or that the peppermint flavor isn't strong enough. Or possibly that the flavor of the chocolate doesn't match the peppermint and bark elements. As noted above, this is dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content, so it's pretty standard. It's neither sweet nor bitter. In this case I find myself wondering if it might not be beneficial for the chocolate to in fact be a tad sweeter.
I just feel like something is missing. I taste peppermint, but I think I want to taste more. This bar tastes more of dark chocolate than of peppermint, which would be fine if I hadn't been so excited about trying out a seasonal offering. Maybe some people will like the peppermint being light; I sometimes like certain flavors to be kept light. For myself, I wanted something more exciting.
You should not, however, take this statement to mean that this chocolate is bad; it's just not hitting that perfect mark for me.