Thursday, December 24, 2009

Museu de la Xocolata: Xocolata Negra amb Gingebre

Ok folks, the jig is up -- I did go to the Museum of Chocolate in Barcelona, otherwise known as the Museu de la Xocolata, in the freaky world of Catalan. The museum is located in the Born district of Barcelona, in a former convent that now houses a chocolate kitchen in addition to the museum space. This was another New York Times recommendation, and I can't say it was really worth more than the gift shop. The exhibit was mildly interesting if somewhat hokey and badly translated -- it addresses the discovery and cultivation of the cocoa bean, and displays a bunch of chocolate sculptures: depictions of the French cartoon character Asterix, for example, in glistening, dewy confection. Again, the gift shop was the main event -- the Museu carries a wide variety of Catalonian products, as well as a collection of bars made right at the museum. Mine belonged to the latter category.

Museu de la Xocolata: Xocolata Negra amb Gingebre
Cocoa content: 51%
Notable ingredients: dried ginger
Origin: n/a

The Museu-made bars all came in vibrant colors, and their titles were written only in Catalan. Some of them, like this one, I could make out, but my initial instinct was to not play it safe with the ginger bar. I passed up on many bars because I could tell that they had a base of white chocolate -- much of which appears to be eaten in Barcelona, oddly enough. One interesting looking bar, titled "mel y met," almost became an impulse selection before the saleswoman informed me that it meant "honey and cheese" -- with chocolate? Talk about a Bad Romance!

So I went with ginger -- and let me tell you, ginger it was. This has been the most gingery ginger bar I've ever had in all my days -- almost approaching the level of ginger brittle, if such a thing existed. This was ginger with a side of chocolate, like a ginger bread cookie with chocolate instead of flour. Is this a sin? I do like ginger quite a bit, hence the 5 times it has showed up on this blog already.

The ultimate verdict, however, is that this is too much. 12% ginger, boasts the nutritional label, a figure which amounts to nearly 25% of the total amount of cocoa solids. The chocolate is visibly flecked with golden ginger shavings throughout, such that I couldn't take an untainted nibble if I tried -- even if I nibbled gingerly. The quality of chocolate was difficult to detect given the overriding spice, but I was sure that it was a little bit too sweet, and possibly a little dried out. Granted, I did drag it on 4 flights with me, ultimately stopping in 3 countries. I was a little dried out, too.

I was glad to have known this bar nonetheless, and pretty glad to have known the Museu de la Xocolata -- which, by the way, issues little house-made chocolate bars instead of entrance tickets! Ga, ga, ooh la la. I give it a B.