While I have the fondest childhood memories of eating dark chocolate covered candied orange peel with my father, it was only as an adult I discovered chocolate covered ginger. If, like me, you love the spicy, sweet tang of perfectly crystalized Asian ginger you will swoon from Biffar’s version.
Biffar, a German company founded in 1890, creates a chewy, but not stringy, confection in the form of 1 1/3″ sticks, and offers you three ways to enjoy it: plain, or dipped in dark or white chocolate. Not generally being a fan of the white chocolate, I tried that first. The creaminess was a perfect foil for the heat from the ginger, while its lack of chocolatey assertiveness let the ginger run the show. The plain crystalized version had a fetching sugar crunch that immediately melted into the slightly chewy rhizome. The dark chocolate (57%) covered ginger sticks were familiar and deftly executed. As you would expect, snappily tempered chocolate gave way to ginger’s complexity. What was most remarkable to me was the plain ginger sticks. I had assumed I would gravitate towards the dark chocolate covered rendition, and try the others as a pro forma gesture. Luckily, I tasted them first. Both the plain and white chocolate sticks had a lightness that was absent from their darker cousin. Each type was completely different, and appealing in its own way.
Unlike most ginger confections that seem to aggregate in a bunch, these were packaged beautifully in a long narrow box with a clear window. Inside, four rows of little sticks lay neatly side by side. Presentation counts, and these 100 gram boxes visually tantalize before your first bite.
Biffar’s Orange Sticks in 57% Dark Chocolate were a perfect example of this classic candy. Just the right amount of couverture surrounded a deeply orange-flavored peel that gave off a citrus scent I thought I would have to trek to Florida to experience. The peel had just the right amount of chewiness, while being exceptionally fresh.
Though Biffar’s glacéed fruits are not enrobed in chocolate, I thought I’d mention them. They are stunning, and the clementine was out of this world. Typically, I am not fond of sugary things like this, but their assortment seduced me at first glance. Another clear-windowed package accentuated the stained-glass look of the crystalized fruit, each shape and color providing a beautiful mosaic.
I also sampled another non-chocolate product: Golden Ginger Hard Candy, which comes in a tin and makes a great little pick-me-up if your energy’s lagging. The flavor is strong enough to taste like ginger without being overpowering. An excellent choice for a sore or scratchy throat.