Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Zotter Candy Bars

Zotter BarsSomewhere between the candy bar and the fine boxed chocolates is a strange no-man’s land known as the gourmet candy bar. Austria’s Zotter is one of those companies occupying that niche. They not only make innovative flavor combinations, but their products are also organic and Fair Trade certified.

I love the idea of Fair Trade. Everyone should get a living wage (or more!) for making candy. No one needs candy, so if we’re going to spend money on it, we certainly shouldn’t be contributing to sweat shops or slavery. That said, these are very expensive at $8 a bar, so it’s nice to know that the wealth I’m imparting to Zotter is being spread around.

Zotter Citron & Polenta BarThe packaging is simple. The bars are wrapped in foil and have a nicely designed sleeve. Each bar has its own distinctive artwork. On top of that there are a lot of different bars. At any given moment there could be 60 listed on their website. I found these at Fog City News in San Francisco, but have also seen them in the Bay Area at The Candy Store, Miette Confisiere and Bittersweet Cafe in Oakland. (Each store had a slightly different selection.)

The bars are absolutely gorgeous. I was afraid mine would be dented or nicked from the trip, but right out of the package they were pristine and fresh.

They’re rather flat and the chocolate enrobing is very thin (but glossy). The proportions of the filling and the chocolate is ideal ... these bars are about the filling not the chocolate.

Zotter Citron & Polenta BarThe first bar I tried was the Zitrone + Polenta. I love polenta/grits/cornmeal mush and of course anything citrus is a bonus in my book.

I was worried that the center would be stiff and grainy, instead it has a creamy snap to it with a slight semolina grain to it. The citrus is tangy and not very zesty. The chocolate coating is 70% and provides a good bittersweet counterpoint to the center.

Zotter Banana & Curry Bar

The second bar I picked out was Banana Curry. The banana notes were strong and tasted like a fresh mash of super-ripe bananas. It was sweet and rich and almost like a pudding or creme brulee, but a little thicker with a slight chew. I never did get much of a curry note from the whole thing but I honestly didn’t miss it. Yes, I was promised curry, but what I got was pretty yummy in its own right.

If you’re looking for adventurous and inventive flavor combinations with your politically correct candy, well Zotter might be for you. At $8 for a 2.5 ounce bar (over $50 a pound), it’s like buying a couple of fine upscale chocolates from Recchiuti, Vosges, Charles Chocolates, CocoaVino, Chuao or Kee’s. They’re not easy to find in person but they do have a huge variety of flavors. I’m glad I gave them a try, but perhaps I’m more cheap than socially responsible, I just can’t spend that much on a candy bar without rationalizing it as being “for the blog.”

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Name: Zitrone + Polenta and Banana Curry Bars
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Zotter
Place Purchased: Fog City News (San Francisco)
Price: $8.00
Size: 2.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Fair Trade, Organic, Fair Trade

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Looks like you scooped me! I bought a bar (mango and brazil nut) at The Candy Store (thanks for the tip, by the way!) and was super excited because I thought I’d made a chocolate discovery. After your review, I can’t wait to taste mine.

    They make a cheese-filled one, but Brian recommended the blood orange and mango/brazil nut bars instead. I followed his advice because I didn’t want to be the idiot who spent $8 on a chocolate and cheese bar that turned out to taste as weird as it sounded.

    Comment by Rosa on 1/02/08 at 6:54 pm #
  2. Wow. This sounds fantastic. I must investigate how to get them here…

    Comment by Alexandra on 1/03/08 at 5:39 am #
  3. I’ve seen these in the local Bio Supermarkets but I haven’t tried any. After reading this, maybe I will…

    Comment by Veronika on 1/08/08 at 9:48 am #
  4. Not fair trade by any stretch, but I found some chocolate covered lemon “patties” at T. J. Maxx this past weekend. I thought of you, with the citrus element. They were good! A little too sweet on the filling, but good in that “don’t find this combination often enough” kind of way.

    Comment by Tricia on 1/08/08 at 10:13 am #
  5. I’ve tried a couple of different flavours of the Zotter bars - my two favourites (elderflower and blood orange) have disappeared from their website, so I’ll assume they’re no longer being made.  :(  (On the other hand, I can’t say I’ll miss the chocolate chili, banana/curry, tomato/olive or tofu/sake.) Sweet potato/rosemary was quite good; bacon was VERY odd but better than expected!

    Comment by Caz on 11/20/08 at 7:14 pm #
  6. I had my first zotter yesterday - Uzbekistan golden cherry. Zing! - it was superb. A friend brought it over from Austria, and also gave us a verbal tour of the factory. I must go there now. It’s an all-you-can-eat Wonkafest, complete with full organic biomaterials and art deco decor. A miniature monorail carries glasses of hot chocolate around the joint, snag one and it’s yours.

    It’s located in southern Austria, near the city of Graz. I never had much motivation to visit the area before, funny what a delicious chocolate bar can do to adjust a tude. (Note: the area is also known for gourmet pumpkins, so I’m going for the twofer!)

    Comment by gerold on 8/24/09 at 6:35 pm #
  7. #6 - Gerold - hilarious!  I love the foodie ‘tude.  Thx for the info!  Cheers - TriciaGab.

    Comment by TriciaGab on 8/18/10 at 6:33 am #
  8. Zotter Chocolate is now available directly here in the US

    Comment by Zotter Chocolates on 9/21/16 at 6:07 am #
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