We stumbled across The Stateside Emporium for the first time at the Tynemouth Food Festival earlier this year. With arms full of balsamic oils, fresh bread and an assortment of scotch eggs, we were drawn to investigate the Americana styled stand by the assortment of interesting chocolate bars.
We were generously offered tasters of all sorts of different flavours from Key Lime Pie and Ice Cream Float to Texas BBQ and Maple Bacon Pancakes. Like the embarrassingly keen chocolate lovers we are, we came away with a bag full of mini-bars and proceeded to make our way through them in a reasonably short space of time.
Whilst these bars won’t appeal to chocolate purists as a result of really successful recreations of typical American flavours, they certainly pack a punch with their flavour-forward variations. BBQ Texas, for example, delivers a salty, meaty smokiness against good quality chocolate and the sweet pie assortments really show off both the flavour of the pie filling and the sweet pastry. They’re a talking point, for sure, and we think they make excellent gifts.
It is easy to tell that there is a lot of work that goes in to developing the flavours of these chocolates and quality flavourings are used. The mint oils used in some of the variations are really refreshing but don’t leave you feeling like you’ve just brushed your teeth!
As fans of the food based inspired bars, we were really excited to learn about the recently launched American Cocktail Collection. Mint Julep, Maple Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Gin Rickey bars were sent to us, wrapped in bright red tissue paper which gave a nice, U.S themed first impression! We’ve been really impressed by the branding from these guys!
Quite honestly, we would say that 3 stood out with one which didn’t really appeal to either of us but which was subsequently snapped up by colleagues!
The Maple Manhattan is a firm favourite with everyone. It is sweet and aromatic with a touch of booze but it still feels like a ‘proper’ chocolate bar.
Gin Rickey was also popular. The lime oil is really fresh and tangy and works well with the milk chocolate, particularly alongside the popping candy! The juniper oil made for quite an alcoholic taste, perfect for gin lovers!
Mint Julep was probably the easiest to eat and felt most like a normal chocolate bar, whilst obviously inspired. The dark chocolate delivered the expected quality bitterness and it was complimented well by the mint. Who doesn’t love mint chocolate??
The most ‘challenging’ bar was the Old Fashioned inspired chocolate. The dark chocolate and lime peel made for quite a bitter, alcoholic taste. It would probably be great if you’re the type of person that likes a Campari and orange or similar but it wasn’t one for our personal tastes.
All in all, we think these are fantastic quality, they look great and there is a bit of something for everyone. There are definitely bars that are just really nice, flavoured chocolates suitable for any sort of treat and there are more inspired, interesting bars that make great gifts.
The Stateside Emporium also offers snacks such as chocolate covered pretzels and hot chocolates on their website. We haven’t tried any yet, but we’ll be giving the pretzels a go soon!