Zotter Mitzi Blue “Chinese” Taste Machine

Happy day after Thanksgiving, everyone! Unfortunately, my attempts to expose the French to the joys and wonders of Jones turkey-flavored, or Jones Pepto Bismal-flavored, or Jones Hackneyed Press Release-flavored novelty soda beverages have been rebuffed by the grand old customs agents of the European Union. Apparently those sodas, novelty lip gloss, and my fitted camel-colored wool pea coat constitute a threat to French security, which is why it has taken them three weeks to arrive in the mail. Until then, it’s lightweight cardigans and bleary-eyed chocolate reviews for everyone! Yay!

Despite all the trouble I’ve been having with the post office, one package did make its way through the mangled hands of justice and into my dim apartment. The Austrian masterminds at Zotter chocolate found me in France and passed off two of their latest Mitzi Blue bars, new on the market for the holiday season. And what better way to emphasize the Christmas spirit, the love of Kwanzaa, and the balls-out awesome of Hanukkah with the “Chinese” Taste Machine?

Yes, you heard correctly, non-sequitar aficionados, gingerbread and fruitcake are out, “Chinese” Taste Machine is in, quotation marks not included. Now you can have the loving caress of gojiberries and bird’s eye chilipowder alongside your buckeyes. Chinese Taste Machine, presented in the classic circular Mitzi Blue form, contains white and dark soy-infused chocolate with the aforementioned spices and berries, plus some powdered star anise for good measure. A punk zimtsterne, if you will. Out of the package, it’s another stunning Zotter bar, this time in a swirled pattern. It broke during transit, but even its original shape looked a little cumbersome to share amongst friends.

Flavor-wise, the Chinese Taste Machine is difficult to love. Very, very, very difficult. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that its jarring set of flavors make it impossible to consider the high quality of the ingredients in the bar. The smooth white and dark chocolate are smothered by the musty flavors of the soy powder, at best, reminiscent of a soy Chai latte in solidified form. At worst, it recalls eating an old chocolate stashed in a winter coat, five years after putting it there. Even the strongest spices, cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg, don’t hold a candle to the strange powdery flavors from the soy.

For all of the flack that gojiberries get, namely, from me, they enhanced the flavors in this bar quite a lot, imparting a sweet, slightly sour flavor to the chocolate and somewhat masking the soy. They are covered with a slight dusting of bird’s eye chili powder, which emphasizes the tang of the dried fruit and gives it a little heat. Still, it never quite meshes with the chocolate and ends up feeling like another candy entirely. It’s a shame as the concept is whimsical and clever, but the execution falls flat.

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