If I ever found myself on death row I’d request a Chicken Akbari Cham Cham and a Pralus Chuao as my last meal. I doubt I’d order a Chicken Tikka Masala – with or without the chocolate base. There’s been some debate online, mainly from Steven Pierce and Dom about how far chocolatiers should go with their creations. I didn’t get involved, remarkably I was very busy at the time. I’d say, however, that every chocolatier has a right to make anything they like, and we have the right not to buy it.
Paul’s job is to get as much attention for his chocolate business as possible and if that means creating ‘funky’ chocolate, so be it. It worked for the other Paul. All it comes down to personal taste. I loved his red onion bon bons and well as the ones with either Stilton or Marmite in them too. But, as Steven suggests, is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? Well I’d say there is, but that line will be different for everyone. As a reviewer I’ll try anything that won’t physically or emotionally harm me. As a chocolate lover I’d buy anything that doesn’t include the two food stuffs I just find unpalatable: sweet corn and olives – everything else is basically fair game.
Those two ingredients are just the ones I would absolutely not eat. I also have a list of “don’t likes”, and they include cheap curry that you’ll often find frozen or chilled in the supermarkets. This curry often has meat that is as dry and tasteless as dry toast. And this is where we come to the main ingredient, the deep frozen chicken. Every fibre of my being is telling me this is a bad thing. I can see the chocolate littered with the fowl’s own pale fibres. However, the other ingredients are positively mouth-watering: coriander, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger, mustard seed, pepper, cardamom, chilli, clove & nutmeg. Is this Lancashire’s very own weapon of mass destruction? Well no.
The thought of that dried chicken still puts me off, but seeing as I’ve consumed chocolate covered bugs, I’ll just have to grin and bear it. Why I don’t like the texture of dried chicken may be a subconscious thing? Fresh food wasn’t always plentiful and dried meat was the ‘norm’ when I lived in South Africa. Or perhaps it was as a result of a post-clubbing chicken curry at one of Warrington’s less fine dining establishments that making me feel inclined to pass up the opportunity to try this chocolate?
After trying some, I did fnd the texture unpleasant. I know chicken was never meant to be a mass-appeal ingredient, but I’m sure people without a phobia of nondescript chicken pieces will love it. Surprisingly, at the recent chocolate festival in Ramsbottom I spoke to some that enjoyed it. And they didn’t seem too mad over there!
From reading the rest of the ingredients you could easily envisage this bar as being pungent and excessive, but they actually weren’t. I did like the sweet milk chocolate with those spices. They were actually very mild and very much alike the non-extreme curry that Tikka Masala is. The only issue I had was that whenever I sought out a piece without any chicken on it, I’d always manage to find some stuck between my teeth and which chose to come out and haunt me in the most unfair of manners
Paul also had some fresh truffles that looked gorgeous, and although I’m glad I actually tried this chocolate, I wish I had some of those instead. And as a rating for this unusual bar of chocolate … I have no idea.