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WHO WAS MONTEZUMA ?
Montezuma was a famous Aztec Ruler (1466-1520) whose empire was eventually invaded by the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés. During his reign cocoa beans were used as a form of currency and also consumed, this was by way of a cocoa based drink they called chocolatl. Montezuma himself was said to have drunk no less than 50 cups of this per day.
When Cortes invaded, Montezuma took it into his head that he was a God of some sort and presented Cortes with his 'chocolatl'. Subsequently this was taken back to Spain and the consumption of chocolate in Europe began.
Sadly for Montezuma, his people soon came to realise that Cortes was certainly not the God that had been presented to them, and they stoned poor Monty to death...nice!
SO WHO ARE MONTEZUMAS ?
Husband and wife, Helen and Simon are ex lawyers who founded Montezumas in 2000 in Brighton. Bored with London and their careers they took off, on a whim, to South America and, after touring several countries, became fascinated with the whole 'chocolate' idea.Having investigated all the complex procedures involved with the cultivation of cocoa, whilst overseas, the couple headed back to the UK full of inspiration and wonderful ideas. They experimented with different types of chocolate, incurring a few failures en route and have been very successful. Montezumas now have several shops across the country and several major retailers stock their products.
They have specialised in some very unusual flavours including Chilli and Lime, Orang and Hazelnut, Orange and Geranium and, the subject of this review, Dark Chocolate Chill.
The packaging of Montezumas Organic Dark Chilli Chocolate looks high end and classy, indeed it was, I feel, strategically placed next to the Green and Blacks premium chocolate in my local Waitrose. A predominantly black cardboard outer with a bright Pink star in the centre with pink and white writing, clearly telling you who's chocolate it was and proudly declaring it was organic. On the back with a bright red background is a brief history of the company.
On opening and unwrapping the plastic inner wrapping I immediately caught the smell of dark chocolate, it was a little strong and slightly insipid.The bar chocolate is, of course, divided into small squares. I broke one of these off, the colour was very dark but you could see a sort of, reddish tinge to it, on further inspection, it looked very grainy.
THE TASTE TEST
I am not a huge fan of dark chocolate but am interested in new flavours, I love all things 'chilli' and was in high hopes that this would be the one dark chocolate that I would like.......I took that first bite.
VILE ! Disgusting and vile doesn't even begin to describe the initial bitter and somewhat chemically (and I have no idea why) taste, and if that wasn't bad enough, before your brain has time to adjust to this it is then hit by something even worse, the chilli. I have heard people say that chilli chocolate is too subtle, I certainly was not expecting this, it blew me away, but not in a good way. It was so hot I immediately rushed to get a glass of water.
Phew, the water did some good but it simply did not get rid of that taste. I had to go and clean my teeth to try to alleviate it, also there was a graininess to the chocolate and I could feel the bits between my teeth. Yes, the aftertaste is almost as bad as the chocolate, and it lingers - rather like a bad smell. I could taste it for about an hour after that initial bite, despite my teeth having been cleaned.
ALLERGY INFO AND INGREDIENTS
Well clearly not for you if you are allergic to chilli but they also have allergy info on the back of the pack stating that it is made in an environment where nuts and dairy are regularly used. It is free from gluten, soya, GM, colouring and preservatives and is organically grown. A plus for them is that it contains 73% cocoa solids so I am really not sure why it tasted so artificial., it also contains organic sugar, organic chilli and organic vanilla.
VALUE FOR MONEY
I bought mine in Waitrose for a princely sum of £2.20, for that price I would expect a lovely premium chocolate. This certainly was not that, in spite of the packaging so I feel that it is extremely overpriced.
I feel a little bad about not liking this chocolate as I really like the idea of the company and have been checking their web site, there are some delicious sounding chocolates on there.
AND MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE ?
Montezuma's revenge is a colloquial term for diahorrea suffered by travellers as a consequence of visiting Mexico. I do believe it is a term that could also be attributed to a similar suffering if you were to eat a whole bar of this.
Doesn't bear thinking about does it!
Having recently decided to try more exiting flavours of block chocolate, I happened to see this bar of Montezuma's Chilli Dark Chocolate, as I was walking through the Waitrose Food Hall, now bizarrely located within Boots the Chemists in Manchester. I had just recently tried the Lindt Chilli chocolate and wondered if this would be any better. I had not heard of the brand before, but being as it was in Waitrose and next to Green and Black's I thought it would be worth trying.
***So Who Is This Monty Bloke Then?.....***
Montezuma was founded in 2000, by two ex-lawyers Helen and Simon Pattinson out of a little shop in Brighton. They had had a kind of crisis, leaving their jobs, selling their house and hopping on a plane to Venezuela. It was while they were there the idea of starting a chocolate business became serious.
Montezuma was an Aztec Emperor it appears. He is officially known as Emperor Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (Motecuhzoma II), but they kind of thought that was a bit of a mouthful so anglicised it to the shortened version as a brand name for posh chocolate. When Hernan Cortes - Spanish conquistador arrived in the land of The Aztecs, Monty assumed he was a God and gave him cacao beans to take back to Spain. Poor old Monty got stoned ot death for being so generous, but as least Europe got it's chocolate!
***How Much Kick Does This Have...?***
The outer packaging of the chocolate is in a cardboard type box, the graphics are quite minimal and tasteful and the front of the packaging. In big bold type it states that the product is organic. It also states it is made with imagination and love. There is plenty of blurb on the back telling their little story. On opening the pack, the chocolate itself is sealed in a plastic type wrapper - a bit cheap looking. The chocolate looks as if it could be that type used in cooking; there are no fancy motifs on it and it is a bit plain looking. It comes in 100g blocks.
The first mistake I made with this chocolate was to open it and sneak a piece as soon as I got outside the shop. I was perhaps a little over confident after my last little foray with chilli chocolate and so had no fear as to what would await me when I took a bite. I broke off a piece and within about 10 seconds I made my way back in the shop to buy a bottle of water. In comparison to the Lindt which I had tried there was no subtle development of the chilli that came through, it was in your face RED HOT and I had to have a drink, like NOW!!! I only had one piece, but it was strong and the taste lingered. To be honest two pieces was all I could manage in one go. I know that this chocolate is targeting a specific market, but it seems to me that the makers of it have approached it with a 'How far can we go to shock the customer and be different? attitude. As if someone who can withstand this and eat it, is somehow to be respected as someone with a true love for the cacao bean and adventurous tastes. The taste still lingered hours later and I took the remainder to work, to get rid of it. Of 11 people surveyed, 10 thought it 'blew their head off' and burned their mouth! The other one has an asbestos tongue and thought it was all a bit tame......so don't just take my word for it!
It just wasn't very nice - too strong and sickly. The chocolate is also a bit grainy and coarse, not smooth at all. On a plus side this chocolate contains 73% cocoa solids and this can be picked up in the slightly bitter taste. However, quality does not necessarily = a success story. The chocolate is as mentioned organic, AND suitable for vegans. It is made in the UK and is also free from preservatives, soya, gluten, GM and colouring. The bar costs around £2.20 in Waitrose/Boots, so it is perhaps at the higher end of the market.
I am happy to have tried this, but in the future if I was to take the Chilli route again, I would have to say that the Lindt option is gentler and more subtle (lower cocoa content). Even the high cocoa percentage isn't enough to impress me this time. Sometimes, with weird and wonderful concoctions, it seems as if the makers go too far in an effort to be edgy and different. In fact, I think I am finished with Chilli full stop and have got this little fad out of my system. This isn't to be found in mainstream supermarkets like Tesco or Sainsbury's etc and is likely to be found in high end chocolate shops or upmarket grocery stores.
Also a plus is that it made the Guardian's Top Ten British Ethical Chocolate List. It is proud of the fact it is committed to fair trade, although it has to be said it has not been independently monitored or audited so far. It sources it's beans from farmers in Peru and The Dominican Republic and aims to pay a fair price for it's produce.
It can also be purchased via their website:
The website is easy to navigate and contains quite a bit of information for the serious consumer.
A final word - I have proved how tough I am to have eaten this and not choked, but will not be repeating this experiment
After recently joining a chocolate club, as part of my freebie box I received a bar of Montezuma's Chilli Chocolate. I was very unsure of a chocolate bar containing chilli but as I am game for anything and I love my chocolate I thought I would give it a try.
The first chunk of chocolate I had was misleading as it takes a while for the kick from the chilli to take hold. At first it just tasted like a rich, smooth dark chocolate but after getting into the second chunk the bite of the chilli was well and truly taking hold and getting hotter by the second.
I had assumed the chilli would be very mild and there would only be a hint of it but I had assumed wrong, the chilli was strong and way overpowered the taste of the chocolate and to be honest once the chilli took hold this bar was nothing short of disgusting.
My hubby has a taste for hot and spicy things but he to thought this bar was awful, when I give the chocolate tasting company my opinion on this bar it will be a simple 1/5 and I will tell them the same as I am telling you now, this bar is horrible and should you come across one anywhere "do not buy it"!!
I discovered Montezuma's chocolate shops when I visited Chichester a few years ago (this is where their HQ is still based), since then I keep coming across them and we now have a shop local to us. Fatal!
Montezuma's chocolates are good quality with unusual twists on old favourites, some downright bizarre flavours and witty names.
Their Chillii chocolate is one I was given as a birthday pressie. I first heard of the conecpt through Montezuma's but I see companies such as Lindt are following suit with their own versions.
The Chilli chocolate, first and foremost is excellent quailty dark choclate, smooth and bitter and a really rich flavour and at first you don't notice anything different apart from the fact you are eating good quality chocolate. then afterwards comes the warmth... the a slight burn.
Great for anyone who loves Chilli and chocolate, funnily enough. Not a bizzarre combination like you'd at first have thought. If you love good chocolate and that aftertaste warmth you get from eating a good hit of chilli, this is for you. Trust me, it works.
And if you like this give montezuma's other creations a go.