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I’ve never had a chocolate trip so exotic as Café Pasqual’s latest CollaBARation Chocolate.
As their promotional material claims, this is “a fiesta for your mouth and senses.” But the extreme festivity is almost to its detriment. The bar’s loaded ingredients overwhelm possible subtler strains. That said, Shawn Askinosie, founder and owner of Askinosie Chocolate, appropriately paces these powerful flavors. The whole tasting has at least four stages.
The first bite of CollaBARation chocolate provides rich pistachio and salt flakes. After a few seconds, the pistachio and salt quickly disappear under the flavor—but not the heat of—ancho chile; it is only as the chocolate melts that the Ancho flavor gives way to its spice. Here the salt makes a comeback. In the final stage, the heat is replaced and the saltiness balanced by new sugar.
Underlying the entire experience are chocolate and goat’s milk, their presence ebbing and flowing around the “fiesta.”
The CollaBARation is so rich that a mere half of its eighteen pieces will begin to fill you up. And while you will begin a new craving when you first lick the sea salt from your lips, you will quickly surfeit.
CollaBARation can be too much for a simple chocolate craving. The flavors demand your attention, precluding a casual experience—that said, I ate half a bar.