Monday, February 02, 2009

Review: Donya Marie’s Original Dark Chocolate BBQ Sauce

Hello Last Bite Foodies. Two of my favorite things in the food world are barbecue and chocolate, and not just any old chocolate, dark chocolate. In fact I don’t really consider milk chocolate to even be chocolate as there tends to be more sugar, milk, and fillers that actual chocolate in that particular variety.

One thing I never expected to see was the two of those elements combined. The mere thought of chocolate BBQ sauce seems utterly absurd at first, right? But then what about mole; made of spices, nuts, seeds and chocolate. While Donya’s BBQ sauce is not a mole, I put myself in that frame of mind when I approached this taste test.

Initial Impression: I have to admit it confounded my senses. The bottle was appealing with a simple off white label and two-tone gold lettering. The white label against the dark reddish brown sauce is well played. Uncomplicated and elegant, but what the label says to me; “Dark Chocolate Barbecue Sauce” leaves me unsure what to expect.

Ingredients: Tomato concentrate, vinegar, cocoa, corn syrup, canola oil, onion, garlic, salt, paprika, black pepper, prepared mustard, sugar, lemon juice, xanthan gum.

The ingredient list is really nice and clean. There are no preservatives or artificial anything. Yes I see the corn syrup and frankly I don’t get the whole stigma of corn syrup. When did corn become a poison anyways? Corn is a vegetable that we all eat so get over it!

Appearance: This is one rich, thick, and sexy sauce. It is reddish brown sauce and there are sparse but definite bits of spices floating around. The consistency of this barbecue sauce presents many applications. It was super thick and sticks to your meat, or whatever else you would use it on nicely. It also makes a great dipping sauce since it won’t drip off of whatever you’re dunking.

Aroma: I popped the cap and took in a snoot full of fumes. Mouthwatering, like drool down your chin, mouthwatering. Now that I cleaned myself up I can tell you that this sauce has some subtle layers of aroma. At first you get a sweet tropical fruit perfume; next the tomatoey fragrance fills your nostrils and makes your mouth water. The velvety cocoa aroma comes in for the finish and practically hypnotizes you.

Taste: Sweet and tangy, this could be a dessert sauce. Tasting it from the jar it has a definite tangy fruity flavor. There are some pieces of black pepper in it that come up next. The pepper is pronounced but not overpowering or out of balance. Next the vinegar tang comes out a bit and the rich cocoa flavor puts it out before it gets out of control. I can taste the chocolate in the finish, but it’s not at all what I expected.

The Food Test: Since we were having some nice weather I decided to fire up the grill and throw on some Tri-tip. I gave it a quick rub down with some Just Simply Good Stuff Original Rub. Tri-tip is tender enough to get away with grilling if you stick to medium rare at the most. The Donya Marie’s BBQ sauce was a perfect match for this lean cut. I would also like to try it on ribs and see how it pairs with richer meats.

Conclusion: Not knowing what to expect made this a great culinary experience. When most BBQ sauces taste the same, Donya Marie’s Dark Chocolate BBQ Sauce stands out from the crowd. It is extremely rich and thick and flows with layers of flavors and aroma. While the chocolate may be more pronounced on the label than it is in the sauce, it has to be that way to make it as delicious as it is. If you are a fan of BBQ you will be a fan of this sauce. Pair this meal with a nice zinfandel and finish with a flourless chocolate torte.

No comments: