Last week at SIAL, I caught eye of this small chocolate company, sandwiched between a large-scale red bean distributor and an enthusiastic basmati-hawking salesman. And yes, the first thing that caught my eye was their speculoos bar. That, and their impressive selection of tea-infused chocolate bars. Flavored Belgian chocolate is new, for me, at least. Perusing the selection at SIAL, it seemed that the most common varieties were various slabs of milk, dark, and white, with some almond-chunked versions thrown in for fun. I was curious to see how Cafe-Tasse would treat not only the time-honored beauty of speculoos, but how they would infuse that with coffee in an attempt to recreate one of the world’s most satisfying sensations, outside of applying flavored body cream to a partner or leaping into a kiddy pool full of puppies: dipping cookies into coffee.
Yes, naysayers be damned, this is yet another example of how awesome speculoos is as an ingredient. This particular bar is a thick, molded bar filled with a speculoos and coffee cookie dough. I didn’t know that this was cookie dough in advance, but in retrospect, the textures are one and the same: very gritty, sweet, and creamy, with chunks of crispy cookie. The pieces are a little large, but are very satisfying with the milk chocolate, a fantastic example of Belgian expertise. It has a creamy, cool melt and coffee-infused flavor. Very well-executed, and most importantly, well-balanced with the filling so that neither overwhelmed the other. (Note: This was accidentally packaged in the “Lait and Speculoos” wrapper but a label on the back indicated that it was “Cafe et Speculoos”. Either that, or this is an elaborately-enduced placebo effect that I’m not yet aware of.)
Most of the speculoos-themed desserts have fared well in my book, but this is my favorite so far due to its ingenious usage of combinations in a single chocolate bar. It reminds me of a better-executed version of the Trader Joe’s speculoos bar. The construction of this leads me to believe that Cafe-Tasse may also be the distributor for their plain version as well, though personally, I find this to have a better, less greasy texture.