In my first Askinosie post, I focused on the two unflavored, single origin bars currently in production by Askinosie. Now, I want to turn my attention to the Nibble Bars, which are basically the same chocolates but studded with nibs on the surface. Normally, I don’t care for such bars, but the Del Tambo bar was just too addictive, while the Soconusco bar, rather mysteriously, was very disappointing.
I say “mysteriously,” because I was impressed thoroughly by the plain Soconusco bar. Its deep chocolaty flavor and subtle but bold cherry undertones were very alluring and sexy in many ways, but the Nibble Bar is, by comparison, deflated. It’s rather boring and lackluster, delivering only half the chocolaty flavor of the original bar and more characteristics from the nibs that I prefer. In other words, it’s too one-sided.
Explanations for this disparity can vary. My theory is that maybe the nibs are just too strong for the chocolate, which in itself is actually subtle and requires some patience to enjoy. This would make sense because Del Tambo is sharp, loud, and assertive, like an aggressive salesman with a booming voice. Its intense flavor pairs well with the nibs and never gets drowned out. The two are a great match, and the bar as a whole is a tag team of that insistent salesman and a Southern Baptist preacher.
Also, you may have noticed in the picture above that the nibs are spread out across the surface of the bar rather than mixed within the chocolaty matrix, which is a technique I like a lot. It immediately exposes you to the contrast of jagged but brittle nibs against the smooth chocolate underneath, and also allows you to taste everything all at once, rather than wait until the chocolate thoroughly melts.
Eating a Nibble Bar is like an explosion in your mouth, all flavors and textural sensations hitting you immediately, at full force. Other nib bars are more akin to a windy day, where the ebbs and flows of the chocolate’s characteristics are more consistent, and at times understated, in their bumpy procession.
I suppose, then, that here is where my preference for assertive flavors and extreme contrasts is really made evident. If you lean towards subtler flavors, less contrast, and more peace in your chocolate, then maybe you should stay away from these bars, or if you absolutely insist on getting these, then perhaps try the Soconusco bar first. Definitely, though, if you’re new to nib chocolate, then I would recommend trying another brand first, perhaps Scharffen Berger or Dagoba, just to get acclimated to the nib flavor.