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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Editor's Choice: Theo Chocolate

With Thanksgiving literally a few hours away, my mind has been completely overtaken by thoughts of holiday food. I’d like to thank my coworkers for politely overlooking my mental absence; I just can’t stop thinking about my mom’s incredible stuffing and my grandma’s perfect pumpkin pie!

While I enjoy the familiar flavors of traditional dishes, I also like to experiment with bold tastes this time of year. Recently, I’ve been on a Southeast Asian spice kick; the warm, exotic flavors of Indian and Thai cuisine are curiously parallel to comfort foods we gravitate toward during winter. My new favorite treat is Theo Chocolate’s Coconut Curry bar. Yes, it sounds unusual, particularly if curry is not your cup of chai; but I encourage you to be adventurous!

The bar is part of Theo’s 3400 Phinney collection, a “fantasy flavor assortment” named after the Seattle company’s factory address. I love the Coconut Curry bar’s element of surprise. At first taste, the chocolate is smooth and silky; then toasted coconut flakes and specks of spices unleash tiny bursts of flavor on your tongue. Interestingly, the savory spices (which include coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves and more) almost make this milk-chocolate bar taste like dark chocolate. It finishes with a bit of heat; just a small piece will do. I like pairing it with a steamy mug of Earl Grey tea.

I admit that I completely judge candy (and books, for that matter) by their wrappers. Kudos to you, Theo; I was sold immediately. The jewel tones and fluid shapes on Coconut Curry’s package reflect the imaginative flavors inside.

Theo’s name is drawn from the Latin word for the Cacao tree, Theobroma Cacao, which translates to “food of the gods” (all the more reason to indulge in chocolate, right?). The company has the first and only organic, Fair Trade chocolate factory in the U.S. To see Theo’s full line, visit