Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chuao Panko

Chuao PankoLast November Chuao Chocolatier released a new bar and I was very excited. It’s called Panko and it’s a very simple bar. It’s a Dark Chocolate Bar with Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs and Sea Salt. I’ve been searching high and low for it in all the usual places, like Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Cost Plus World Market, but none of them seemed to have it. So I waited until the Fancy Food Show and snagged one there from the kind Chuao folks.

Panko is the name for a specific kind of Japanese-style breadcrumbs. (Panko means breadcrumbs ... well, it means little bits of bread, so calling them breadcrumb breadcrumbs is redundant ... like pizza pie.) Here is a video that probably tells you more than you wanted to know about panko.

Chuao Panko

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a full Chuao bar, I’ve been eating the ChocoPods instead because I prefer the variety. I didn’t realize that the bars had changed so much in the past few years. Here’s a peek at the previous iteration. The bars are now packaged in a matte mylar wrapper instead of foil inside a box. The wrapper opens pretty easily and when I tear it at the seams it works pretty well for re-wrapping the uneaten portion (though I still put it into a zip lock bag). The actual bar is stunningly molded. It’s a custom design of cacao pods with the Chuao logo on the top third of the bar.

Chuao Panko

The dark chocolate is sweet but has an overall berry and woodsy note. It’s creamy with a good buttery melt and silky texture. That texture is interrupted in a satisfying fashion with the light and crispy panko. It reminded me quite a bit of the Theo 3400 Phinney Bread and Chocolate Bar, which was not as sweet and actually more on the savory side.

The panko texture is a cross between bread and pretzel bits (without the “crust” of the pretzel). The addition of the sea salt in the 60% chocolate keeps it from being too sweet and provides just another little bit of texture.

I give it high marks for munchability ... as long as I can find it. The price is a little steep but it is tasty and pretty to look at. The panko is made from non-genetically modified wheat as well as non-gmo soy lecithin for the chocolate. It’s all natural.

Chuao uses all Venezuelan chocolate in their bars and confections. Aguasanta is a growth initiative which is dedicated to preserving the genetic integrity of cacao and helping to build a sustainable future for cacao in Venezuela.

Chuao also debuted a few newer bars at the Fancy Food Show, including Honeycomb (a sponge candy mixed into a chocolate bar - which I’ve been getting as a thick bulk bark from Whole Foods for a couple of years), Coffee & Anise and CoCo (coconut, coriander and chocolate).

(Yes, I recognize that the package photo up there at the top looks blurry, but it’s not. It’s some sort of printing problem but since this was a sample that was meant to be broken into pieces and tasted up to the Fancy Food Show for tasting, not a demonstration of the wrapper, I hope you won’t hold that against it.)

Related Candies

  1. Fancy Food Show 2010 - Day 2 Notes
  2. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Crisps
  3. Chuao Chocolate Blocks from LEGOLAND
  4. Daffin’s Candies Factory & World’s Largest Candy Store
  5. Chuao ChocoPod Collection
  6. Chuao Chocolatier
Name: Panko 60% Cacao
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Chuao Chocolatier
Place Purchased: Sample from Fancy Food Show
Price: $5.50 retail
Size: 2.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 135
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, United States, Chuao Chocolatier, All Natural

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:39 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Ack, I too have been on the lookout for this since I arrived in the US in December, and now I’m leaving in 10 days and I’m so saddened to have to go without!

    Moreso, in fact, after discovering that there’s also a Coconut and Coriander… (I can get my fix of honeycomb easily through Crunchies back home - and the proper kind without the dark stripe in the middle raspberry)

    Also, while I understand the whole “pretty” aspect of the new design, I can’t help preferring the breakable-squares format. What can I say, I like clean breaks raspberry

    Comment by Hannah on 1/27/10 at 2:12 pm #
  2. I’ve been looking for the new bars also, as I wanted to review them at Chocolate Blog.  No luck yet, but I’ll keep looking because I love the Theo Bread and Chocolate bar, so I’m thinking the Panko will be a big hit.

    Comment by Julie on 1/28/10 at 5:51 am #
  3. I just got this today at Walmart! It is a little pricey.. almost $4. But I love using panko and I love dark chocolate so I just had to try it. There are definitely berry and woodys notes to the chocolate. Actually the fruity notes are so strong it surprised me. The hint of sea salt actually compliments the fruity notes and brings them out even more. The panko gives it a nice crispy texture that makes me want to chew the chocolate.

    Comment by Amy on 6/21/10 at 12:54 am #
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