I am sad to report that chocolate covered bacon,
(this next qualifier is important, please pay attention)
AS EXECUTED AT THE 2012 L.A. COUNTY FAIR,
was not great. Let's get even more specific: it wasn't good.
I'll get to the details in a moment. But first let me explain that I think the concept of chocolate covered bacon
(which I have creatively named "pork chocs")
is a great one. Among the pork-eating among us, of course.
Sweet and salty combinations have been satisfying those with working taste buds for years. I would say centuries, millenia, but I'm not that educated on the exact historic timeline of salty/sweet combos, so I'm going to keep it safe and say years.
People love bacon. People love chocolate. Sweet and salty have been proven to please, so how can you tell me that salty bacon and sweet chocolate combined could not also please?
In fact, this already exists in several forms.
Unfortunately, however, the bacon I partook of yesterday had several issues with it.
1. It was cold.
You're surprised by this, yes? Of course you are. I'd be willing to guess that 95 percent of people who are presented with the idea of chocolate covered bacon for the first time are going to think of something that is either warm or room temperature, but not cold. Show me the research against this and I'll humbly concede the point, but for now I'm sticking with this.
I've been known to eat leftover cooked bacon from the fridge without reheating it. I've enjoyed it. But there is a definite taste difference between cold and hot bacon, with hot clearly being the winner. As my favorite undergraduate professor taught me in our psychology sensation and perception class, temperature affects particular tastes. Why do we drink coffee hot? Because things that are bitter taste less so when heated. I believe the same is true for salt. Try and drink some tap water with salt added; um, no. Salty soup? Fried chicken? Absolutely. You don't notice how loaded up with salt something is when it's nice and toasty. Nor do you notice the taste and texture of fat in bacon quite so much when the bacon is warm.
2. The bacon to chocolate ratio was way too small, further disrupting the opportunity to taste any otherwise delicious bacon.
The entire strip was covered with chocolate -- which I was expecting, but wasn't expecting this to be a problem -- and the layer was rather thick around the bacon. So the bacon taste was not only underwhelmed but difficult to even pick out.*
I found this unfortunate. What I felt I was eating, essentially, was a lot of chilled chocolate, followed by very little bacon taste that I had to really concentrate on in order to notice. Also, in proving my earlier point, the fact that it was cold made the fatty taste more enhanced than that salty, porky taste bacon so uniquely offer us. In its warmer persona, of course.
I realize I said I had several issues to discuss, and then only numbered 2 items in the above list. But as you will notice there were several subpoints.
So I leave you with this. Again, I think the concept of pork chocs is great. I really do. I just think that the bacon needs to be no colder than room temperature. It also should be crispy. I think it should be lightly dipped in chocolate. We're just looking for a hint of chocolate, people, not a thick casing.
What's more, I think we should test this out, and in so doing we will perhaps find that just dipping a slice of bacon part way, so some of it is not dipped in bacon (the way one might dip a fry in a Frosty, for example -- you wouldn't douse the thing, would you? Of course not), is actually better than dipping it fully. We could get artistic about this, even, in the patterns we choose to coat the bacon with chocolate. Diagonal lines, dribbles of chocolate, etc.
But not too artistic. It's chocolate covered bacon, for crying out loud.
If you happen to see a fairground employee, please pass along these thoughts. Thank you for your time. Your opinions on the matter are important to us, and you are safe here to freely discuss them. Please join the conversation in the comments below. We (and by we, I mean I) welcome you.
*Do I sound like a food critic? Editors of the world, leave a comment and I'll be happy to pass along my resume. :)