Sunday, November 8, 2009

Montezuma's: Nutmeg

You can expect November to be a month of fine chocolates because I've been doing some traveling and have sought out some of the greater chocolate venders in this fine continent. Last weekend I was in London, where I came across a Montezuma's chocolate store in the Spitalfields Market. I had actually never heard of Montezuma's -- it's a relatively new UK company with a flavor/ingredient variety comparable to that of Christopher Elbow, who uses Pop Rocks and weird spices. I chose this bar with little hesitation, as I have never seen nutmeg in chocolate before, and I love a good holiday spice just as much as the next person.

Montezuma's: Nutmeg
Cocoa content: 34%
Notable ingredients: organic nutmeg
Origin: n/a

The back of the bar has some corny testimonial from one Helen Pattinson (Co-founder,) who likens the flavor to one's "mother's secret rice pudding recipe." I think this is a useful, if not wholly accurate comparison. Nutmeg is usually paired with cinnamon, in cookies or in the incredibly delicious Cinnamon Nutmeg frozen yogurt that I once had from Ranc's in Lexington, MA. Indians use it in desserts, most notably kheer. I would say it provides warmth and a very subtle spice, like ginger but sweeter and milder.

I had no doubt that it would be a good companion for chocolate -- specifically milk chocolate. Since nutmeg often accompanies creamy desserts like eggnog and rice pudding, it is a natural match for the silky, high quality milk chocolate we have here. It provided a depth to the chocolate, and absolutely filled me with holiday merriment. Nutmeg makes pumpkin look like the Grinch who stole Christmas.

This was the first bar I've had in a while that I actually closed my eyes for and savored -- that's how delicious it was. Every respectable chocolate maker out there has a ginger bar. Why not nutmeg, I wonder? It smells incredible and presumably goes a long way in small doses.

This bar could get infinite points for originality but on taste alone it deserves a top grade. I'll definitely be trying more of Montezuma's chocolates in the future, and keeping my eye out for similarly innovative spice inclusion elsewhere. A.

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