With another trip to the natural foods store comes another intriguing selection from Theo, this time a bar with fig, fennel, and almond. The former two are very earthy, gritty flavors, the latter, a little bitter and creamy. How the hell would this play out?
Once again, we encounter a package that's just as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. I know this is an oft-used high school guidance counselor cliché, but in this case, it's true. This package features two squirrels sharing a fig. I, ever attentive, shrieked, "They're sharing a gourd!" in the middle of the store, and Keepitcoming confirmed that it was actually a fig. Because the bar has fig in it. Too bad there's no squirrel. LOL! But the art is adorable and definitely eye-catching.The bar is composed of small, dried bits of each ingredient surrounded by dark chocolate. The chocolate melted extremely quickly, even faster than the milk chocolate bar did. There was a distinct crunch from the fig seeds and almonds. I liked this seedy texture. It felt natural and crumbly, like the seeds on a poppy seed bagel, and gave the bar an almost crust-like texture.I did notice a regularity in the mouthfeel, though. I think I would have appreciated the individual components of the bar more had one of the toppings been a paste or filling, like marzipan or more of a fig layer, similar to Zotter's hand scooped bars. Without that differentiation, the textures got muddled and it was difficult to distinguish any individual component.
The flavor was sublime. Each special ingredient played off the others. Upon the first bite, the dark chocolate melted away, leaving behind a raisiny flavor that was only accentuated by the fig, an adult's remembrance of a Fig Newton. This had all of the texture and none of the goo, but backed up the dark chocolate's more primitive flavors and added a sumptuous layer of its own. The almonds were more present in texture than in flavor, but gave a creamy softness to the chocolate and a bitter aftertaste to the fennel, which pierced the dark chocolate and made it even more intense. The fennel added a natural and licoricey snap to the entire bar.
Sigh. It seems complicated and involved. And it is. But every bit of this was really quite decadent, and despite the textural boredom, it was decidedly interesting and combined flavors I wouldn't have otherwise thought to enjoy with chocolate.
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