Saturday, March 10, 2012

Food Kirsten Ate, But Which Shouldn't Have Been Eaten By Anyone

A Special Report on Fecaliscious Chocolate by Kirsten Koza, misadventure travel writer.
---
Snad, I hope you never see this on my dining table again – for many reasons. Normally I’d have sent you a photo of a wrapper. But the fact is, I can’t finish these bars of Maria Tepoztlan chocolate / xocolatl, made by Villa Vainilla.

You can taste the gritty reality of life in Mexico!
My parents were fooled into their purchase by the pretty boxes with Fair Trade stamped on the outside, while they did some last minute shopping as they left Guatemala - obviously without their reading glasses because the chocolate is apparently from Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I say “apparently” because I’ve been virtually driving around the back streets of Merida for days, using Google Street View, looking for Villa Vainilla’s factory in Cuidad Industrial. I can’t find it.

This chocolate is grit held together by possibly some sort of industrial lube or peasant toe jam (not listed in the ingredients) that coagulates in your mouth and finally dissolves (but not fast enough) so you are left with just a mouthful of debris that honestly feels like something swept off a floor. I even can taste someone's banana peel, in the dark chocolate and cinnamon bar - overt banana peel. And the bars are boxed and then sealed in foil. So I'm thinking the banana peel is actually in the chocolate - not because my parents were smuggling bananas into Canada (which they weren't).

I wish wish I wasn't polite and didn't try so hard to appreciate the chocolate for my parents’ benefit - as if it was a taste that I was going to acquire or explore. After my folks left my place, I inspected the ghastly product and saw hacho en Mexico written on the box and immediately cracked a Montezuma joke. Six hours later, I was running from my bed to the toilet. I thought my two day bout of Montezuma’s Revenge that followed was most likely from the chocolate, but it could have been because I mocked the Aztec King.

Then, when I was feeling better, I did something really stupid. I thought I should have one more bite of the chocolate to see if it was as bad as I remembered it. It took three hours for Montezuma to pay another visit. I have no one to blame but me - but I wanted to make sure I was being fair. Villa Vainilla didn't deserve my quest for fairness. Even if their chocolate didn’t cause me to spend sleepness nights sitting on the toilet – it still tastes like shit.

I read in the Nutrition Advisor that Montezuma drank 50 cups of unsweetened cocoa a day. A mug of homemade hot chocolate today, made with a good brand of cocoa, has about 3.8 grams of fibre in it - so one can imagine how much more fibre would have been in Montezuma's (I always assumed that all that fibre was the truth behind Montezuma's Revenge). His cocoa was probably much like Maria Tepoztlan's debris filled chocolate - this is probably really authentic Aztec chocolate - but then Aztecs used to do things like genital blood-letting before leaving for work in the morning, enjoyed human sacrifice, and Aztec burglars used to carry around the severed arm from a female who died during childbirth because they believed that made them invisible (did I just make that last bit up - I don't think so) - anyway  - it stands to reason then, that their chocolate wasn't very good, either.

Less revoltingly stinky than the chocolate.
I'm still sick. It took all my will to open the boxes of chocolate and just take a picture. I'd rather have opened my box containing the shrunken head I bought last week - and he makes my entire house reek - I'd rather kiss my stinking little Amazon on the lips. 

From Kirsten Koza (www.kirstenkoza.com)

15 comments:

  1. I just got this in the mail from my parents - my mom was scared of it and let it age in her cupboard. I was going to wait to taste it but after this review I had to break the bar out, stat! [How could chocolate be that bad, I wonder]

    My first thought (after wondering if I could break my arm by slamming this hefty bar onto it) was that it tasted like sticks. Sticks that had been soaked in vanilla for a month. Then I bit into something (chile shard?) and worried about cracking a tooth.

    However, and I'm not too proud to say this... I kind of like it. I also like how if you chew long enough, the gritty turns velvety! Weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The gritty turns velvety because it is bits of cacao (see my post below). You are right on for giving it an unbiased try! I have to commend you for that ;)

      Delete
  2. I am fifty years old and eat chocolate every single day. The first time I have ever spat chocolate out was the first (and last) time I bit into a hunk of Maria Tepotzlan chocolate. It tasted so bad that I thought it might actually *be* bad.
    --Malcolm Charles

    ReplyDelete
  3. This chocolate is quite possibly the worst food I ever tasted. Wrapper looked like someone with messy hands wrapped it- badly - and there were actual finger prints on the wrapper! Chocolate doesn't smell like chocolate - smells kind of like tires/coal/gas. Definitely not healthy. Took one bite and couldn't eat more. Don't be fooled by the lovely box. Unfortunately we gave many of these away as gifts before we realized (bought in Cancun airport).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're lucky it was finger prints--could have been a finger. Kirsten

      Delete
  4. Bought this in Baja, Mexico at the airport as a snack for the plane ride home. Possibly the WORST chocolate I have ever had. Tastes like cocoa powder mixed with powdered sugar then held together by some sort of emulsifier...with crunchy shards to boot! Absolutely disgusting. I tried three different varieties...dark, vanilla and chile, all equally bad. Never buying chocolate again without researching first. This is nasty NASTY chocolate!! DO NOT BUY!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That IS how Mexican chocolate is supposed to be!!!!! It is stone ground; not mixed with milk solids or other oils. Just sugar and cacao and hence the gritty texture. The gritty pieces are actually bits of real cacao. Have you heard of or tried Taza chocolate? Look them up; they explain the stone ground process/texture. I'm sorry you did not like the taste or texture but don't be completely turned off because it is something you are not accustomed to. It is actually a more authentic chocolate (cocoa grows in the tropics after-all). I consider myself a chocolate connoisseur...it tasted fine to me. Arguably there are three types of beans that chocolate is made from; I do not know if these are made from the more or less expensive plant. But I liked them. And I am VERY particular about my chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess the diarrhea is also a more authentic way to enjoy chocolate, and the lack of splats from, say, Valrhona chocolate, is just to appease the wussified NA and European markets?

      Delete
    2. I think you are right. I thought it was terrible, but my husband, who is mexican, didn't think it was nearly as bad as I did, but he still agrees that even Lindt is better. I thought it must be full of additives because of the taste but it clearly says 70% chocolate! (Still they use filler rather than real cocoa butter).

      Delete
  6. Disgusting, Asqueroso, d├ęgueulasse.
    I made the mistake of buying one yesterday at Monterrey airport.
    I am originally from eastern Venezuela, the Paria Peninsula known for its excellent Trinitario Cocoa beans and grew up quite used to artisan chocolate. I have personally made chocolate using cocoa fat, cocoa powder, piloncillo (molasses cone) and spices.
    This Maria Tepoztlan thing is an insult to Chocolate. They don't use a conching machine but neither do I and I still get a better product.
    Its texture between my lips reminded me of palm oil = cheap.
    Next time I will just buy a Hershey or a Toblerone and enjoy Chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I bought a couple packs from the Mexico City airport a few days ago and decided to try it before bringing it to work. It tastes so bad I figure this has to be some kind of plastic filler. This isn't rich 70 percent cocoa. This is some God awful filler. I'll be going to work empty handed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hersheys, Toblerone, Vahlrona, that's all crap. I too bought Maria Tepoztlan Xocolatl in an airport. I came online hoping to buy more in the States for my restaurant; it's amazing stuff. Instead I find people with upset stomachs, loose bowels and even looser mouths ranting about this exceptional product.
    Needless to say, I don't agree with any of the negative comments made here. The "grit" in this chocolate is what it's all about--to say nothing of the great flavor. Though I would not mind it a bit less sweet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! I'm glad you loved it so much you needed to comment about it on a blog that parodies food blogs! I'm sure Kirsten and everyone who hated the chocolate will totes change their minds about it now that you've told us you love the stuff!

      Your enlightenment is greatly appreciated! Keep up the good work!

      Delete
  9. While in Cancun my husband and I went to a class where chocolate was made from cacao beans...ground fine until the oil from the beans combined with the cocoa to make the base. Sugar was then added in. That was it. Pure, unadulterated, unAmerican chocolate. Yes, it has a slightly bittersweet taste, but delicious. Not Hersheys, not Ghirardelli, but natural. We can't compare anything mass produced with this, but I have to say that the Maria Tepoztlan came close, especially the chili chocolate bar. Not too sweet, pieces of cacao beans included (thank you) and just the right bite of chili. Delicious. Obviously, not milky, not overly sweet. Just Mexican-perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I also came here reading about this Maria chocolate. Came across it in Pasadena, a nice woman parked next to us. (she had a flat tire, and we helped her.) Anyways came online to look for more. I don't know how people are reviewing this chocolate so poorly.I agree with Joe, all of you are used to the processed chocolates. I on the contrary, enjoyed this chocolate. I don't eat common brands of chocolates, so this Maria chocolate made me feel excited. :)

    ReplyDelete