Review: Wild Ophelia's 'Catching Fire' Chocolate Bars Thursday 24 October, 2013

Adam and I (Savanna) like chocolate. A lot. I worked as a chocolatier for two years when I was in college, and Adam is one of the biggest chocolate connoisseurs I know. So we were thrilled when we learned that Lionsgate had partnered with Wild Ophelia and Vosges Haut-Chocolat to produce an official line of Catching Fire chocolate. We were even more thrilled, though, when Wild Ophelia and Vosges offered to send us all twelve of their district-themed bars to sample and review!

Before we get into our assessment of each bar, we’d like to first highlight the unbelievable luxuriousness of the packaging. As you can see in the image above, the chocolate bar library comes in a huge book-like box that opens up to reveal the full collection. It was clearly designed for those who appreciate literature and will make a great collectible when empty! The individual packaging for the bars is also incredibly elegant, and the boxes are resealable, which is a nice touch.

You’ll find our impressions of each district bar below. All scores are out of 5.

District 1 – Luxury: rare harvest cashews + 41% cacao milk chocolate
Average Score: 4.5

Savanna: I was expecting the cashews to have more of a presence but was pleasantly surprised to find that they were very subtly layered beneath the chocolate, lending just a slight saltiness to the bar. 5

Adam: Luxurious indeed, as the organic nut essence sticks out tastefully within the milk chocolate. District 1’ers would definitely save this for dessert. 4 (Speaking of cashews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq6icvSJq9g)

District 2 – Masonry: caramel + pecan + 41% cacao milk chocolate
Average Score: 5

Savanna: This bar was masterfully constructed. I’m a huge pecan fan, so I knew I’d love that aspect of it; what I wasn’t expecting, however, was the delectably sweet richness that the caramel sent flowing through the chocolate. And I usually hate caramel. 5

Adam: At first bite, I was ready to give it a 4, but a strong endorsement from my co-taster inspired me to give it a second chance, and then I found it exploding with flavor. 5

District 3 – Technology: arabica coffee + crystal salt + 70% cacao dark chocolate
Average Score: 2.5

Savanna: Coffee lovers will savor this one. I know Beetee would totally dig it. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I was definitely turned off by the overpowering taste of dark roast that coursed through the bar. I did, however, appreciate the way the crystal salt interacted with the sweetness of the chocolate. 1

Adam: I’m not a coffee-drinker, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like aromatic bean concoctions. The bitterness of the coffee mixed with the salt and sweet made for a delectable deluge. P.S. I like dark more than milk. 4

District 4 – Fishing: sea salt + coconut + 70% cacao dark chocolate
Average Score: 2.5

Savanna: Disclaimer: Despite growing up in a subtropical climate, I hate coconut. If you’re a fellow coconut hater, you will likely not enjoy this bar. If you’re a coconut fan? Go join Adam. But only if you’re not into yoga. 1

Adam: This grew on me. At first, I thought the coconut was too camouflaged within the sea salt, but once I found it, I felt like I was drinking a piña colada while getting caught in the rain. 4

District 5 – Power: crispy crunchy caramel corn +70% cacao dark chocolate
Average Score: 3

Savanna: I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. But it’s still quite tasty! I liked the crunch the caramel corn added to the bar and wished there’d been more of it. I’m sure Foxface would have been thrilled to receive one of these via silver parachute. 2

Adam: I have a sweet tooth. Actually, I have 29 sweet teeth. And that means I like crunchy caramel. It reminds me of the circus. Panem et circenses. Yum. 4

District 6 – Transportation: crunchy runner peanuts in peanut butter + 41% cacao milk chocolate
Average Score: 4

Savanna: The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is one of my greatest weaknesses. This bar was delicious. District 6 knows what’s up. Need I say more? 4

Adam: District 6 indeed does know what’s up. Taking a few tips from a company called Reese’s in the old world, this potent chocolate-peanut butter combination travels deliciously through the esophagus like a 200 mph bullet train. 4

District 7 – Lumber: smoked chipotle chili + 41% cacao milk chocolate
Average Score: 4.5

Savanna: This was definitely my favorite bar. I always add a little bit of chocolate to my chili, as something truly magical happens when you infuse a spicy concoction with a hint of sweetness. Here, we have a sugary base of milk chocolate that releases just a touch of unexpected fire as it goes down. Five points for flavor, an extra point for being an edible metaphor for Johanna Mason. 6

Adam: It’s not that I don’t like it. I’m actually a huge fan of Chipotle (capital C), but spice and chocolate mix for me like peas and carrots (don’t love vegetables either, hehe). 3

District 8 – Textiles: caramelized crispy rice +70% cacao dark chocolate
Average Score: 4

Savanna: I enjoyed this one. The crispy rice gave the chocolate a great texture. 4

Adam: Caramel, rice, and dark chocolate had District 8 seemingly destined for five-dom, but there was a slight wardrobe malfunction on the platform down the runway. Tasty, yes. Elite? Almost. 4

District 9 – Grain: milled oats + vanilla hemp seeds + 70% cacao dark chocolate
Average Score: 3

Savanna: This was one of my least favorites, and I still haven’t figured out why. The milled oats gave it a nice texture, but something about the flavor just didn’t sit well on my tongue. The vanilla, perhaps? 1

Adam: I’m probably going against the grain on this one (har har), but I admired the unusual flavor. It stayed with me, like acres of prairie land, unblemished and original. 5

District 10 – Livestock: beef jerky + smoked mesquite + 41% cacao milk chocolate
Average Score: 3.25

Savanna: I was hoping for larger bits of jerky within this bar, but it was very finely chopped, causing the beefiness to be more of an aftertaste. I found the smoked mesquite flavor to be very pleasant and a nice contrast to the sweet milk chocolate. 4

Adam: This tasted like beef jerky. Oh, and there’s chocolate. Reminds me of the time I tried to eat Kellogg’s Special K with water. Some things just don’t quite go together. 3

District 11 – Agriculture: harvest cherry + 70% cacao dark chocolate
Average Score: 4.25

Savanna: Very yummy! Rue and Thresh would be proud. 4

Adam: In my childhood, I spent several summers in Michigan and attended a few cherry festivals. While I wouldn’t quite call this an Anton Ego-Ratatouille moment of gastronomical nostalgia, I did relish the memory. 4.5

District 12 – Mining: mined salt + 41% cacao milk chocolate
Average Score: 4

Savanna: This bar basically took what I loved from the District 3 bar (the salt) and magnified it. The mining reference is neat, and the simplicity of the composition is an accurate reflection of District 12. 4

Adam: Classic. District 12. Salt. Mining. Chocolate. Deep in the meadow of your belly. Climbing every intestinal mountain. Fording every salivating stream. One needs no tesserae when chocolate like this comes through the Mellark Bakery. 4

You can order the Wild Ophelia district bars online at Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s website, and we’ve also seen them popping up at various Walgreen’s locations. The full library is $65, but the individual bars are only $4.99 apiece. For those of you with more extravagant tastes, Vosges has also designed a line of Capitol truffles and chocolate bars inspired by Katniss, Effie, and President Snow.

Oh, and if you’d like to win a year’s worth of chocolate from Wild Ophelia and Vosges Haut-Chocolat, click here!


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