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Top Pick Of The Week

November 22, 2011

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Chocolate and Bacon

Chocolate and bacon in three expressions from The Madison Chocolatiers West. From top: Bacon Pistachio Conditi, Bacon Peanut Butter Cups and Spicy Chocolate Bacon Toffee. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Bacon-with-chocolate confections from 28 different producers, our favorites and runners up.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Bacon-and-chocolate is a relatively new flavor combination that is picking up speed.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Smoky, salty bacon is a natural complement to chocolate.
WHERE TO BUY IT: See individual listings.

 

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Chocolate And Bacon: The New Confection Combination

Jump to the article index below

 

Page 1: Overview

In Seattle, The Capitol Club serves a Chocolate Bacon Martini. It’s made with vodka infused with candied bacon, plus chocolate liqueur and a splash of cream. In Santa Fe, Whoo’s Donuts sells a maple bacon donut with a dark chocolate glaze. In Fort Collins, Colorado, at Kati Anderson and Matt Kenfield’s Cupcake Cruiser food truck, the Chocolate Toffee Bacon Cupcake is a favorite. If you made it to this year’s Oklahoma State Fair, we hope you tried the bacon milkshake.

From coast to coast, the pairing of chocolate and bacon is the hottest combination to come along since salted caramels. Producers of everything from marshmallows to chocolate bars to ice cream are hopping onto the chocolate-and-bacon bandwagon. You can find the combination everywhere, from farmers' markets to fine restaurants.

This week’s Top Pick reviews chocolate and bacon confections. We tasted bacon chocolates, bacon-chocolate cupcakes, chocolate bacon caramels, chocolate  bacon marshmallows and chocolate-covered bacon strips. Check out the index below, which includes links to the 31 chocolate and bacon products we tasted.

The History Of Chocolate And Bacon

As it happens, the history of chocolate and bacon combinations is pretty recent. Credit for first marketing the mix of these two favorite foods may belong to Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut-Chocolat in Chicago.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Chicago. According to a 2009 article in Time, Ms. Markoff started the chocolate and bacon phenomenon in 2007, when she added bacon to a chocolate bar. To her complete surprise, it became her best-selling item. We tasted it when it first debuted and enjoyed it from the start. Check out Vosges’ Mo’s Bacon Bar in dark chocolate, milk chocolate or a combo pack.

However, David Briggs, of Xocolatl de David, says he was the first to combine bacon and chocolate—in 2006! His “proof” is in the form of two emails from that year, commenting on his bacon and chocolate blends—and one of the emails is mine! (The other is from an assistant food editor at Food & Wine).

Then there’s the concept of multiple discovery, the hypothesis that most scientific discoveries and inventions are made independently and more or less simultaneously by multiple scientists and inventors.

Marini’s Candies, Santa Cruz. In the same time frame as Vosges, Joseph Marini III, candy maker at Marini’s Candies in Santa Cruz, California, listened to a friend who suggested that he combine bacon and chocolate, two of his favorite foods. Marini made some chocolate-covered bacon, sampled it on the Boardwalk in 2007 and served it at the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival in January 2008. It proved so popular that it became a store staple.

Co Co. Sala, D.C. Co Co. Sala, a restaurant and chocolate boutique in Washington, D.C., was another early advocate of bacon and chocolate. Co-owner Nisha Sidhu says that when the restaurant’s menu was developed in 2007, it included Bacon Mac n’ Cheese garnished with a piece of applewood-smoked bacon dipped in chocolate. When the restaurant opened in 2008, customers began to request plates of the enrobed bacon by itself—which the company bagged and sold in the chocolate shop.

Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. THE NIBBLE first heard of chocolate-dipped bacon strips in 2008, from Mary Leonard, proprietor of Chocolate Céleste in Minneapolis. She’d seen it at the Famous Dave’s booth at the Minnesota State Fair (Famous Dave’s is a pit barbeque restaurant in Minneapolis). She made her own gourmet version with top-quality chocolate. Other producers picked up on the trend, calling their chocolate-covered bacon strips “pig candy” and “pick lickers.”

See what’s trending in bacon chocolate.  Check out the winners or head to the index below to see what page you’d like to visit next.

—Stephanie Zonis

 

     

More Bodacious Bacon

The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas

The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food, by James Villas. Who can resist these great bacon recipes? More information.

Wowbacon Microwave Bacon Cooker. Our favorite way to cook bacon—in the microwave. No splatter, no pervasive smell: a great invention! Great as a gift, too. More information.

Seduced by Bacon: Recipes & Lore About America's Favorite Indulgence, by Joanna Pruess, Bob Lape and Liesa Cole. Wake up and smell the bacon! More information.

INDEX OF REVIEW

This is Page 1 of a seven-page article. Click on the black links to visit other pages:

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