Saturday, January 3, 2009

Diva Chocolates - Kickin' Cocoa Bean

Diva Chocolates, LLC is a food retailer that specializes in combining chocolate with meat. It started out in 2006 with two women who discovered the joys of dipping their steaks into a batch of brownie mix. They launched their company with a line of chocolate grilling rubs, and then a year later introduced "chocolate beef jerky".

The beef jerky line includes two varieties, this "Kickin' Cocoa Bean", and a "Mocha Java", that I reviewed earlier. I'm guessing by the word "kickin'" in the name, this stuff is supposed to be spicy, or hot.

Diva Chocolates doesn't make their own jerky, it's actually jerky from a processor called California Jerky Company, who apparently makes the "Bach CUC" brand, which I think may be a vietnamese name.

Either way, the package label claims that this is "the first jerky designed for those seeking new adventures in chocolate!". We shall see...


Beef, sugar, seasoning blend (dehydrated onion flakes, salt, coriander, cacoa nibs, garlic powder, paprika and other spices), water, salt, citric acid. Treated with potassium sorbate solution.


The tastes I pick up from the surface of these pieces is a moderate level sweet flavor, a slight soapy taste, a slight black pepper flavor, and a slight salty flavor. Going into the chew, I taste a wee bit more salt, and some more black pepper.

Being that Diva Chocolates says this Kickin' Cocoa Bean variety "puts the KICK back into eating chocolate", my initial impression of this is "where's the chocolate?" The ingredients list suggest the only chocolately taste would come from the cacoa nibs, but after eating a few pieces already, I don't really taste anything of the sort. I did find one small piece with a larger concentration of cacoa nibs, and did get a chocolatey taste. But for the most part, you're not going to taste any chocolate in this. What I taste is a peppery, sugary, beef jerky, similar to many other jerky brands.

That soapy taste I described above continues to show up on the surface of every piece. I don't know where it comes from, perhaps the potassium sorbate? I've had a lot of jerky with potassium sorbate and I never I got this flavor before. I find it unpleasant, and grabbing too much of my attention. It eventually wears off the longer I suck and chew on a piece.

The natural meat flavors are not very evident in this jerky, I'd almost say that I can't taste any of it. That's a stark contrast from this brand's other variety, "Mocha Java", which I found to have a moderate-level natural meat flavor. I'll also note that the meat used in this Kickin' Cocoa Bean variety looks much different than that used in the Mocha Java. This stuff is far more reddish in color, while the Mocha Java is a very dark brown color.

As far as being spicy, I don't really see this as any more spicy than your standard black peppered jerky. It does have a moderate level black pepper taste, particularly after haven eaten several pieces. As far as being "hot", it's not. I'd rate it as mild on my hot scale.

The level of sweetness in this jerky is significant, it's probably the most dominant taste of this jerky. But it's not a chocolatey sweet, it's just normal sugary sweet.

The other spices mentioned in the ingredients list are not well detected. I can sense a slight garlic aftertaste, but I can't really find the onion or coriander. I do see bits of coriander seed, but they are small enough and so few that I haven't been able to bite into one. I also spotted a lone red chile seed.

The dominant taste of this jerky is the sugary sweet flavor, with the second-most dominant taste being the black pepper, followed by that pungent soapy surface flavor.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced to a medium thickness, and in small to average sized pieces.

It's mostly a dry jerky, but still with a bit of moisture. If bent with the grain, it tends to crack apart rather quickly. I find it easy to tear apart, and moderately easy to chew.

The chewing texture is very meaty, fibrous, with a steak-like character. It's probably a touch on the chewy, rubbery side, but that's just being picky.

In terms of clean eating, I don't really get any residue on my fingers, but each time I bite or tear off a piece, I'll get a black pepper chunk falling off.

I can see some smaller bits of fat here and there, and some pieces with a good deal of marbilization. But I didn't find anything chewy in the way of tendon or gristle.

Snack Value

I paid $5.95 for this 2 ounce package from Diva Chocolate's website. That works out to a price of $2.98 per ounce, making this a very expensive jerky.

For general jerky snacking purposes, at this price, it's a weak value. While I do find this jerky to be snackable, with its flavor intensity, good meat consistency and good chewing texture, it doesn't necessarily stand out to justify this high price. It's just a snackable jerky, and you can find snackable jerky in your local grocery store.

As a chocolate flavored jerky, or more appropriate a "Kickin' Cocoa Bean" jerky, it's a poor value. I don't get any chocolate or cacoa nib taste in this. It doesn't taste much different than Wal-Mart's black peppered jerky.


I'm giving this an average rating.

That rating is based on this being a standard black peppered jerky. It has a moderate snackability with it's sweetness and black peppery flavor, combined with its relative chewing ease and good chewing texture.

It could've had a better snackability but that pungent soapy flavor I keep getting from the surface of these pieces tends to keep me from craving this to any larger degree. I'm also disappointed that I can't taste any natural meat flavors in this like I could with the brand's Mocha Java variety.

Worse yet, this doesn't stand up to its billing as a chocolate, or cocoa bean variety. I thought I was going to experience a world where chocolate meets beef, but it seems the chocolate decided to stay home. Maybe I need the more well-adapted tongue of a chocoholic to find the chocolate flavor in this. Being a jerky snacker, my tongue looks for the jerky flavor.

Still, as a black peppered jerky, it's about on par with much of the mass-market brands. You just have to decide if it's worth paying $2.98 per ounce for this stuff.

My beer recommendation is a Young's Chocolate Stout, you'll get more chocolatey flavor this way.

Rating: Average

Buy this online:


Post a Comment